When I showed up college in 1980 I suspect I was one of the most well-read students to the freshman class.. The school was a small, expensive liberal arts institution famous for churning out doctors and lawyers, so that brag is noteworthy. Perhaps well-read is not the right choice of words. Most-read might be more apt.
After I discovered reading in the 3rd grade I devoured everything I could find. I read all of the time. By the time I headed off to college my personal library held well over 1500 books. My bedroom walls were lined with book cases. The walls were wallpapered in National Geographic maps, but that is a tale for another day.
I read everything: an entire set of encyclopedias, the Bible, westerns by the score. I read dozens of volumes of Reader's Digest Condensed Books, I picked up whatever my mother was reading and finished it after she went to bed. I spent my money from mowing and later my job on novels from he rack at the drugstore. I went to the library. I borrowed from grandma, even romances. I read and read. But mostly it was history. Biographies, military history, and American history were addictive. I couldn't pass.
All of that reading had an optional benefit. I was able to easily do the high volume reading required of a history / English Lit double major. I was also able to write a pretty good paper. Unfortunately, those writing skills are not evident around here these days. But some of the stuff in the archives is not bad.
I still read a lot. Not the three or four books a week of my youth. In those days I would knock out a Louis L'Amour western in a day. If you count the time I spend reading crap on the interwebz and in my Kindle I guess I'm still getting in a couple of hours of reading time each day. That is a far cry from the six or eight I managed as a kid. I read much slower now too.
The past few years have been tough as my eyesight made reading hard. That is much better now. I read more for fun these days. I cannot imagine trudging through an encyclopedia or reading the dictionary like I did as a teen. I read a lot more fiction. I suppose entertainment trumps learning at this stage of life.