Research indicates that school children and high school graduates are able to read words without understanding what they mean. Such “readers” lack a fund of common knowledge necessary to getting meaning from a text that does more than present a narrow topic.
An adult level of literacy requires a reader to interpret allusions and figurative language. Students whose reading has been limited chiefly to “informational texts” and rarely exposed to literature and well-written nonfiction are crippled by lack of background information.
The current notion that all the information anyone needs can be found by browsing the Web is flawed.
Yes, it is wonderful to be able to look up facts with the click of a mouse. This ability is to be valued, but it does not cancel the need for children to acquire of fund of information they can retrieve from their own minds.
Learning things by heart should be a basic ingredient at every level of education.
One of the glues holding a civilization together is a shared body of knowledge.