Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feel the Power! The Power of Reading

The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research by Stephen Krashen covers the research about reading's effect on reading skills, literacy, and language proficiencies such as spelling and grammar. It turns out that reading a lot correlates with being a better reader! More interestingly, scores on reading capability, spelling, and grammar are about the same if the time spent on explicitly teaching things is instead spent on offering people books they might like to read and encouraging them to read them. This is true both for elementary age children and for adults learning a second language.
The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research
I enjoyed reading out parts of the studies to my kids (they highly endorse the plan of not bothering with grammar instruction or spelling words), especially the ones that confirm common sense. School libraries with more books encourage more reading! And libraries that are open more also increase reading! Librarians help kids find books! Kids read more if books are interesting to them, and if books are available! I wish schools had more strength of character to keep plain old reading time in the curriculum; it seems that too often it feels like not doing anything and a waste of time, when in reality it's probably one of the most useful things kids in school could be doing. Calling it by an acronym helps a bit -- schools like doing SSR (sustained silent reading) or DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) or even BURP (Burst of Uninterrupted Reading Program, P's favorite) but it still seems like it's the first thing to get squashed to make room for less useful things like grammar worksheets.

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