Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer reading loss: A simpler approach

Sent to the Wyoming Star-Tribune
There has been a great deal of research on encouraging reading, and it supports a much simpler approach that that reported in "Wyoming educators offer tips to prevent summer learning loss," (June 3). There is no solid evidence showing that contests, rewards and testing improve reading, but there is consistent evidence that providing access to interesting reading material results in more reading and better reading. 
Children from high-poverty families are hardest hit by summer loss. For these children, libraries are often the only access to books they have.  The implication: Make sure libraries have collections of books young readers really like to read, librarians to help connect children and books, and make sure the libraries are open at hours convenient to children and their families.
Stephen Krashen
Contests and rewards: Krashen, S. 2003. The (lack of) experimental evidence supporting the use of accelerated reader. Journal of Children’s Literature 29 (2): 9, 16-30.
Children from high-poverty families: Entwhistle, Doris, Alexander, Karl, and Olsen, Linda. 1997. Children, Schools, and Inequality. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Access to interesting reading material: Heyns, Barbara. 1975. Summer Learning and the Effect of School. New York: Academic Press; Kim, Jimmy. 2003. “Summer reading and the ethnic achievement gap,” Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk 9, no. 2:169-188.
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