Monday, February 27, 2017

Reading instead of homework, the other half of the argument

S. Krashen

Comment posted on  “The Answer Sheet” : What happened when one school banned homework — and asked kids to read and play instead  (Washington Post).

This article provides half of the argument for a "reading instead of homework" policy, Harris Cooper's meta-analysis on the effect of traditional homework. Here is the other half: Self-selected pleasure reading does work.  There is overwhelming evidence that reading for pleasure is the major source of our reading ability, our ability to write with an acceptable writing style, our ability to handle complex grammatical structures, our "educated" vocabulary, and much of our spelling ability.  Studies also show that those who read more know more about literature, history, social studies, and science, and even have more "practical knowledge."  Reading fiction also contributes to an expanded ability to understand others' points of view, and develops more tolerance for vagueness,  that is, a better ability to deal with uncertainty.
Also worth mentioning: A reading-instead-of-homework policy requires access to plenty of reading material. Families who live in poverty have far less access to books.

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