Monday, February 23, 2009

Krashen on the latest brain research on reading

Krashen, S. 2009. The white stuff. Language Magazine 8 (6): 16-17, available for free download at:
Note: The editor changed the title - the original title was "Neurological support for a meaningless theory of reading."

Krashen takes on the IRA

Policy paper slights books

Original title: A Significant Omission in the IRA Policy Paper: Access to Books for All Students
Published in Reading Today, February/March 2009, vol 26, 4. Page 18
Stephen Krashen

The International Reading Association policy paper, "Keeping Our Promise to All Students," described in the December/ 2008/January 2009 issue of Reading Today (Vol. 26, No. 3, pages 1,4, and 5) talks about everything except books and reading. It includes recommendations for standards, assessment, instructional time, professional development, and of course the by now mandatory recommendation that we prepare students for the 21st century. The only mention of books is inpassing:
"Further supports for teachers to successfully increase student achievement include providing resources such as paraprofessionals, books, computers, and other literacy instructional tools" (p. 4).
Books, in other words, are simply one of several "instructional tools."
In view of the consistent finding that children of poverty have little access to reading material at home, in their communities and in school, shouldn't the International Reading Association strongly recommend that all children have access to reading materials, that school and public libraries be strengthened in high poverty areas? After all, what's the point of standards, assessment, instructional time, and professional development if students have little or nothing to read?
Without a strong and clear recommendation for adequate access to books, the policy paper does not keep its promise to all students.
The IRA policy paper is available at:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Krashen and the $10 laptop

Sent to the Taipei Times, versions also posted on Daily Mail website, and Scientific American blog, Feb 4, 2009

India claims that it is developing a very cheap laptop "to improve the skills of millions of students" ("India says it will produce new laptop for just US $10," Feb. 4). There is no evidence that a $10 laptop will help students learn more.
Let me recommend a device (which) is even cheaper, and its efficacy is supported by a tremendous amount of research. It is random access, compact, and highly durable.
Using this device simulates temporal and pre-frontal areas of the brain, and may even delay senility in addition to increasing literacy levels dramatically and providing children with large amounts of information.
It is safe for use by children.
One warning: This device is extremely pleasant to use and may result in addiction.
These devices are found in great abundance in libraries, where they can be borrowed for free.

Stephen Krashen