Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nonfiction Fever

Re: Nonfiction forms 'Core' of summer reading for kids (July 19).
Sent to the Journal News (Nyack, NY)

Nyack is pushing non-fiction for summer reading, the assumption being that non-fiction will better prepare students for the real world than fiction, described by one Nyack parent as "la-la" land.  There is no research at all supporting this position.  It is simply the opinion of the architects of the common core, a lawyer and an education entrepreneur with no teaching experience. 

In contrast, there are many studies showing the advantages of reading large amounts of self-selected fiction. The advantages include development of reading ability, writing style, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, as well as knowledge of the world, providing an excellent foundation for reading academic texts. 

My colleagues and I published a study of a high school student whose reading test scores declined during the academic year, but increased every summer. During the year, she did the kind of assigned reading that the common core recommends. During the summer, she read what she wanted to read, which was largely fiction.  

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Advantages: Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Heineman, Libraries Unlimited
Study: Lin, S-Y, Shin, F. and Krashen, S. 2007. Sophia’s Choice: Summer Reading. Knowledge Quest 4. 

1 comment:

  1. I am pleased to see someone with a history of research speak out against this elephant in the room named CCSS. As a middle school Language Arts teacher, I feel that I'm fighting a losing battle against the politicians who have determined that my students are smart enough to compete with students in other countries in the "global" marketplace. I've recently read The Power of Reading and was encouraged to have many of my beliefs and practices confirmed by your research. Please continue to speak up (and loudly) because maybe someone will stop and listen when this newest attempt to "fix" education fails.