Monday, October 13, 2008

Krashen on Latin and the SATs (2)

Sent to the New York Times, October 7, 2008

Latin study has definite advantages ("A dead language that's very much alive," October 7), but it has not been established that building English vocabulary and high SAT scores are among them.
In 1923, Edward Thorndike reported that Latin has only a temporary impact on vocabulary: High school Latin students excelled in English vocabulary after one year, but the difference was smaller after two years of Latin. Also, it has not been demonstrated that well-read adults who studied Latin have larger vocabularies than well-read adults who have not.
In contrast, reading provides life-long vocabulary growth, as well as in writing, reading, and grammar, more knowledge of school subjects and more knowledge of the world.
Latin's impact on SAT scores is questionable: The small percentage who take Latin (about 7% of those who take the SAT), might differ from others in important ways that affect SAT scores. I'll bet they read more.
Stephen Krashen


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