Monday, January 08, 2007

Krashen on Light Reading

Sent to American Libraries, January 5, 2007
I sympathize with David Isaacson's view ("On My Mind:
Don't Just Read ! Read Good Books! Dec. 2006) that
librarians should encourage people to read good books. Research, however, suggests that we also need to make "lighter reading" available, especially when we deal with children.
Lighter reading, it seems, is a conduit to heavier
reading, making it more attractive and more
In our research, (Ujiie and Krashen, published in
Knowledge Quest, 2002), we asked children what books
got them excited about reading for the first time,
books that Jim Trelease calls "Home Run" books. Very
few of the books mentioned were prize-winners (eg
Newbury, Caldecott).
Back in 1938, Schoonover?s research showed that
children who get involved in reading eventually choose
what experts had decided were "good books" and in 1958
LaBrant found that young readers eventually expand
their reading interests as they read more.
Similarly, in 1996 Joanne Ujiie and I reported that
middle school boys who read comic books also read
more, and read more books, than those who read less.
This is supported by a number of case histories:
Bishop Desmond Tutu, for example, wrote that reading
comic books "is how I developed my love for English
and for reading." (Quoted by Jim Trelease in the Read
Aloud Handbook).
Lighter reading, at least for children, appears to be
a conduit that makes heavier reading attractive and
Stephen Krashen


Post a Comment

<< Home