Monday, May 13, 2013

An easier, more pleasant, less expensive path

Sent to the Springfield (MO) News-Leader

Missouri plans intensive remediation for students a year or more behind in reading (“Holding children back called 'the last option',” May 12).

I hope the remediation includes improving access to interesting reading material. 
Study after study shows that students of all ages can make remarkable progress if they develop a reading habit.  The research literature is filled with cases of those who started to read late, often around ages 10 to 12, but became voracious readers. Learning to read late did not prevent many eminent people from reaching the highest levels of literacy. Einstein is reported to have learned to read at age 9, Rodin at 10 and Woodrow Wilson at 11.
In all of these cases, readers made rapid progress once they began reading material they were genuinely interested in of their own volition, and all had the advantage of having easy access to books.
The real problem is that many children do not have easy access to books. Children in poverty are the most likely to be behind in reading, and they also have the least access to books. For these children the only source of books is the library.  Studies consistently show that better libraries, staffed with qualified librarians, are associated with higher reading achievement.

Let’s at least include this more pleasant, less expensive path, demonstrated again and again to be highly effective.

Stephen Krashen


Some sources:

Krashen, S. and McQuillan, J. 2007. Late intervention. Educational Leadership 65 (2): 68-73.
Krashen, S., Lee, SY., and McQuillan, J. 2012. Is the library important? Multivariate studies at the national and international level. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 8(1): 26-36. 
Lance, Keith. The Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement.

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