The power of fiction: The UK study
Fiction = great vocabulary builder
Sullivan and Brown, 2014: vocabulary test
1. Reading at age 42 counts, independent of reading at 16 or younger & previous vocabulary.
2. Fiction counts (more than nonfiction), but not "low-brow"
3. Music counts a little. Reading counts more.
4. Reading counts even when you control for parent occupation and parent education.
5. Reading counts more than your own education AND is independent of your educational level
Sullivan, A. & Brown, M. 2014. Vocabulary from Adolescence to Middle Age. Centre for Longitudinal Studies, University of London
Those who read more, know more. Readers (of fiction) do better on tests of literature, history, cultural literacy, but also SCIENCE, SOCIAL STUDIES and PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE. (Stanovich and colleagues).
Fiction stretches, challenges the mind.
1. Fiction contributes to an expanded "theory of mind" = understand others' states of mind, ways of thinking, compared to nonfiction. (Kidd & Castono)
2. Fiction readers have more tolerance for vagueness, better able to deal with uncertaincy (Djikic, Oatley, and Moldoveanu, 2013). Based on survey done after reading fiction or nonfiction, eg agree/disagree with: “I don’t like situations that are uncertain," “I dislike questions that can be answered in many different ways.”
3. Ethics and insight: Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, (102), 5/1995, "You think because I wear this mask I don't know what it's like to have problems?" also: Batman Returns, The Watchmen
4. Career success
Simonton (1988) "omnivorous reading in childhood and adolescence correlates positively with ultimate adult success" (p. 11).
Malcolm X: ‘What’s your alma mater?’
Michael Faraday (1791-1867): influence of working for a bookbinder for 7 years.
Heritage language development
1. Popular view: people resist English
2. The facts: The first language disappears rapidly
Language Use: Spanish-speaking high school students in Miami: Use of Spanish
Prior to elementary school: 85%
Junion High school: 37%
Sr High School: 18%
Informal use during senior year
Friends in school: 20%
Portes and Rumbaut, 2001: age 14
Competence in HL and English, 1 = not at all, 4 = very well
Overall English = 3.77,,, HL = 2.75 (n = 4288)
China English = 3.54, HL = 2.23
Vietnam English = 3.42, HL = 2.54
Mexico English = 3.62, HL = 3.33
3. Should we be concerned? Yes. No disadvantages, only advantages to heritage language development - advantages
a. bilinguals are smarter, and stay young longer (delays dementia)
b. access to the wisdom of the family
c. practical: It's good to know your customers' language
4. Barriers to HL development
language shyness resulting from ridicule: Tse = ethnic ambivalence
cure: reading! Perfect for shy people
not the cure: take a grammar class
problem: lack of access to comprehensible input
Tse: Those who kept their HL had access to reading material
5. Teaching heritage language classes.
a. popular literature = goal – establish reading habit
b. history and culture using the Book Whisperer method
6. Taking advantage of the oral tradition: video library
a. task of the HL class: create video library: history, wisdom, experiences of the family
b. build competence through aural/visual input: narrow, compelling input
movie talk/picture – comic book talk/
stories, jokes, regular report of the news
interviews, questions of personal interest