Reading is one of the most wonderful experiences available to us. Yet in our society, powerful social forces are pushing our children toward lives in which reading books will not be important. Reading is declining among every group of Americans. The decline is precipitous among younger adults, those aged 18-34. Young adults have gone from being the group that read the most in American society 20 years ago to the group that reads the least today. For the first time in American history, less than half the adult population reads books, and among younger adults the percentage is approaching a third.
Swimming against this current, the mission of the Institute of Reading Development is to help students of all ages reach their full potential as readers and help them to make reading good books an important and rewarding part of their lives.
Our approach to this challenge has been informed by four decades of experience serving students, parents, and community organizations in diverse communities nationwide, and by our understanding of the stages of reading development through which we all pass on our way to becoming literate adults. In seeking to fulfill our mission, the Institute has: