Saturday, April 26, 2014

Incentives for Reading Aloud to Children?

Published in the School Library Journal, 2014.

Introduction by the editors of the School Library Journal:
In School Library Journal‘s January 2014 print issue, Suffolk Cooperative Library System’s youth services coordinator Lisa G. Kropp wrote the article “Vivacious Vocabulary” about how in the interest of building students into critical thinkers and strong readers, libraries are embracing the “1,000 Books Before” program that encourages parents to read 1,000 books to their kids before kindergarten.
One SLJ reader, Stephen Krashen, language expert and professor emeritus at University of California, responds to Kropp’s article in an email:

Read alouds are very pleasant for both parents and children. The vast majority of children say they enjoy being read aloud to: Ninety-seven percent in the study Walker and Kuerbitz (1979), 95 percent in Mason and Blanton (1971), and many parents agree. Eighty-nine percent of mothers interviewed in Newson and Newson (cited in Wells, 1985) said their children liked to be read to.

However, giving certificates, getting one’s picture in the local newspaper, and other incentives could send the message that reading and hearing stories is not pleasant and that nobody would do it without a bribe. This could reduce the amount of reading aloud when the rewards are withdrawn (for research, see Kohn, 1999).

But, I agree with the article’s author Lisa Kropp in that we need to encourage reading aloud. The first step is to make sure that families have books. The second is to make sure that parents, and other caretakers, understand the benefits of read alouds.

Stephen Krashen

Kohn, A. (1999). Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, and Other Bribes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Mason, G., and W. Blanton. (1971). Story content for beginning reading instruction. Elementary English, 48, 793-796.
Walker, G., and I. Kuerbitz. (1979). Reading to preschoolers as an aid to successful beginning reading. Reading Improvement 16: 149-154.
Wells, G. (1985). Language Development in the Pre-School Years. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Original article:

No comments:

Post a Comment