In the US it’s pretty much a given that the dead tree editions of most newspapers and general circulation magazines are in trouble.

Their sales and advertising revenue have been dropping as more and more people turn to the web for information. Or skip reading in favor of television and other media.

However, that’s not the case in other parts of the world. Take India for example.

Earlier this week, the daily public radio program Marketplace had an interesting segment on how paper-based newspapers are growing and thriving in that country.

As you might expect, that’s due in part to having only a small segment of the population with access to the web (about 2%).

But a far more interesting cause is the dramatic increase in literacy driven by the country’s booming economy.

Economic growth has led to development and development has led to literacy. Outside of the big cities, Hindi newspapers have just exploded, fueled by new literates, people who are literate for the first time. So if I’ve just started reading, the big thing in my life is to carry a newspaper because it’s a sign that says I read. And that’s a powerful statement to make.

Being able to read is a “powerful statement”. That’s pretty cool.

In the US, of course, we just take it for granted that adults can read, although the process of getting there (as practiced in our education system) can easily be made into a long, boring chore.

Wouldn’t it be a big step for all parts of education if our kids had some pride in their reading ability?

india, reading, literacy