It is a sad truth that millions of people around the world are illiterate, and millions more cannot read above a fifth grade reading level. (This fact explains why most major newspapers are written at a sixth or seventh grade reading level. If the newspapers used vocabulary which was too complex or employed sentence structures which were too complicated, then the managing editors would quickly discover that their readers would abandon their newspapers for competition which offered easier reading material.) Furthermore, the proliferation of social media websites (such as Facebook and Twitter) and text messaging devices has generally weakened many Americans’ grammar and spelling skills; in fact, some experts believe that these social media websites and text messaging devices actively discourage their users from using proper grammar and spelling because doing so would make the user look like a snob. Although English teachers in American public schools are attempting to improve American literacy by forcing students to read high quality books and articles, they are fighting (and at times losing) an uphill battle. After all, students see little reason to read the books that their teachers assign them when they know that popular culture all but discourages refined reading and writing skills.
However, some literacy experts believe that a solution exists in the form of family reading program magazines. Families can order these magazines from reputable publishers who are known for publishing high quality works. These family reading program magazines are typically published once or twice each month, and each issue offers dozens of short stories, informative articles, and word puzzles which are designed to challenge and enrich readers’ intellects. Many families appreciate these family reading program magazines because they offer them a relatively inexpensive way by which they might improve their children’s literacy skills. However, although many experts support these family reading program magazines, other experts suggest that they are a poor substitute for the novels and textbooks which fostered high literacy rates in the past. These experts urge families to cancel their subscriptions to family reading program magazines and to instead envision alternative family reading night ideas and family reading night activities which they promise will do a better job strengthening their family’s literary skills than family reading program magazines. The ideas are endless, but popular alternatives include book clubs and book reports.