While this statement seems accurate in the near term, in the long term it may be that technology makes reading less necessary. Already clerks at fast food restuarants need only press a key with a picure of a hamburger on it, rather than read, and then type in the price of the item. I am "writing" this paragraph, not by typing, but by dictating to my computer, which is translating my spoken word into text. With the click of the mouse I can reverse the process and have the computer "read" any written text to me aurally. While I personally shudder at the idea, I can too easily envision a future where not only is excellent reading unnecesary, reading at any level will be a superfluous skill. -S.H.

Laura Responds:
I'm afraid this kind of thinking will do much to perpetuate the class system. The "haves" are likely to have access to the technology you mention here and to be competent readers while the "have-nots" are not likely to have access to the technology or to be competent readers. If it doesn't perpetuate the class system and comes to be as you suggest is possible, it s not likely to be the case for this generation. While we must prepare for the future, I don't want it to be at the expense of the generation we are now educating.