Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Krashen on rap

Sent to the News & Observer, Raleigh, NC
Vocabulary improvement: Libraries, not rap.
Durham educators (Learning by rapping has a different
beat.? Dec 14) apparently think that the way to
increase vocabulary is through rap tracks artificially
and awkwardly stuffed with big words ("My girl's so
affable and amiable, she's always acting conciliatory
and agreeable. You know there's no hierarchy in our relationship").
These educators need to take a look at the research.
There is overwhelming evidence that vocabulary comes
from wide, self-selected reading. People with large vocabularies report that they developed their vocabulary through reading, not through special programs or gimmicks.
The first step in improving vocabulary is making sure
students have access to lots of interesting, quality
reading, have time to read, and a place to read. I
suggest Durham educators think about improving school
and public libraries before investing in an unproven
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California


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