Monday, January 1, 2018

Read alouds lead to reading, reading requires access to books

Sent to the Los Angeles Times,  December 31, 2017

Re: If you want your kids to be fully literate, start reading to them when they are babies. 

Professors Allen and Adele Gottfried inform us that their studies show that reading aloud to children early in their lives correlates with educational success later on (letters, Dec. 30).  

Read-alouds help because they provide exposure to the vocabulary and grammar used in books, making independent reading more comprehensible, and also because they get children interested in reading on their own. Those who become avid readers read better, write better, have larger vocabularies, better grammar, and spell better.

Having a reading habit only happens if children have access to books. A number of studies, including our own, have shown that access to libraries correlates with reading proficiency, and our recent work suggests that availability of libraries can balance the negative effect of poverty on literacy development. 

California has consistently invested little in libraries, often the only source of books for children of poverty, and little in librarians, who help children find the right books for them.

Stephen Krashen
Syying Lee
Jeff McQuillan

Original letter to the Times:

Some sources: 
Access to books: 
McQuillan, J. (1998). The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions. Heinemann. 
Krashen, S. (2004). The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited.

Our recent studies: 
Krashen, S., Lee, S.Y. and McQuillan, J. 2012. Is the library important? Multivariate studies at the national and international level. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 8(1): 26-36.
Krashen, S. Lee, SY, and Lao, C. 2017. Comprehensible and Compelling: The Causes and Effects of Free Voluntary Reading. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited. ABC-CLIO, LLC.

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