Friday, May 9, 2014

Reading for points vs. reading for pleasure

Sent to the Christian Science Monitor, May 9, 2014

The book popularity data from "What are kids reading? Books like 'Hunger Games,' but classics, too," (May 8) comes from reading done in preparation for tests, not reading for pleasure.

The data comes from reading done as part of the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. AR sells tests that students take after reading a book. Students are awarded points depending on how many questions they get right, and can exchange the points for prizes. Thus, AR readers are reading in order to score points on AR tests, and try to remember details that might be on the test, but that are often not relevant to the story (e.g. "What is the name of the talking parrot?" in Dr. Dolittle).

Young readers might be using different criteria in reading for points as contrasted with reading for pleasure.

Stephen Krashen

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