Monday, February 23, 2009

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:


Post a Comment

<< Home