I spent years writing scholarly texts and technical writing. I also read that way. When I wrote my first fiction, I was shocked to read the average grade level for fiction was an eighth-grade reading level. I was insulted that I had to dummy down what I had written for mass consumption or the average reader.
Yeah, I'm an old fart, but still when it is mandatory for school children to spend thirty minutes a day reading and you have to bribe them with free pizza, there is something wrong with this picture. Even now, you'd be hard pressed to pry a book out of my hand, or even an e-reader.
"A turkey operation." That makes a whole lot of sense, doesn't it?
I taught my girls phonics at home. They are better readers because of it. They sounded out words just as I did as a child. When teachers called me on it. I simply told them that their teaching methods were wrong and they were creating a generation of illiterates. Yes, I was opinionated back then too. I asked them how they were taught to read...phonetically was their answer. Just because something is easier doesn't make it right. These kids are now adults and can't read because nothing makes sense to them.
I have an author friend who read that China is the hot market for readers. He wanted to use a translation gadget the change the language of his books from English to Chinese. I stopped him. 1) Many Chinese people read English better than most American, and 2) There was no guarantee that the translation would mean the same thing. There are many nuances to foreign languages. I told him his best route was to hire a person well versed in both languages.
The joy of reading is lost on today's generation, or maybe two generations. That's a terrifying thought for all us authors out there. Society keeps dumbing down the language so more people can read it, what's next? The average reading age will be fifth-grade or maybe second? Just to get people to understand what they are reading? Horrors! Perish the thought!
I read a survey once, the results are in the chart below.