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Costa Ricans Think Reading is Important But Do It Very Little

Costa Rica News – Reading is very important in keeping the mind sharp, but it does not seem to be a habit of most Costa Ricans. When travelling in Costa Rica if you are looking for a bookstore or a library 9 out of 10 people you ask for directions to these places will not know where it is located.  I had a friend tell me one time he was looking for a bookcase in the San Jose area and went into a furniture store to ask if they had one.  The salesperson looked at him strangely and then asked in amazement “You have enough books to put on one of those?” 56.3% of Costa Ricans believe that reading is “very important” to their lives, but half the population (50.9%) said they had not read a single book in the past year.

This data was obtained from the First National Survey of Cultural Habits and Practices 2010-2011, prepared by the Ministry of Culture and Youth.

The chief of this survey, Manuel Obregon, said that this is the first time in  history that an exploratory study to analyze the consumption of cultural products and services by Costa Ricans has been done.

The analysis took into account the data of the Population and Housing Census of 2000 conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Census.

As explained by the Director of Culture, Catherine Calvo, interviewed a total of 3,381 people in the seven provinces and the confidence level is 95%. The margin of error is 2.7%.

The survey analyzed in different modules Ticos habits regarding different manifestations of culture as: assistance to cultural, heritage, reading, media exposure, use of leisure and cultural facilities in homes, among others .

So, in terms of reading habits survey found that although 97.6% of the population can read, people are not motivated enough to do so and in 2009, for example, 59.2% reported not having purchased one book and 50.9% said they had not read any.

When asked about the motive that impels them to read a book, 33% stated that it was the subject or title, 19.8% said they read for fun or entertainment and 16.8% read for work or school.

According to the survey, the percentage of Costa Ricans who say they read newspapers every day is 48% and 26.5%  say they never do.

The sections on “Events” and “Sports” are the most desired by readers with 14.7% and 12.3% respectively.

In this writers opinion this this lack of reading and enjoyment of reading is the fault of the Costa Rica education system.  It is very important to teach the children the enjoyment of learning from literature and digesting that knowledge. It would be interesting to ask the deputies and president what the last book they read was in their lives.  Oh course they would just blame a dog for eating their book, having no time as they are “concentrating on passing laws”, or some other excuse on why it is not their fault they did not read a book in the last year.


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