January 27, 2009

Independence Takes Students Long Way

The Baltimore Sun had an article by Arin Gencer last week, "A little independence takes pupils a long way" which was good.  It shows what the research has been telling us, that self-selected reading works.

Stephen Krashen, from his e-newsletter:

"I was pleased to read that a member of the Maryland State Department
of Education believes that independent, self-selected reading done in
school is linked to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) ("A little
independence takes pupils a long way," Jan 21).

The NCLB approach to reading is based on the Report of the National
Reading Panel, which insisted that there is "no clear evidence that
encouraging children to read more in school improves reading
achievement." Because of this, independent reading programs have been
much less popular than they once were. Until now, NCLB has not been
enthusiastic about independent reading and it is not even mentioned in
their report on adolescent literacy.

Since the Reading Panel's report appeared, however, massive
scientific evidence has been made available showing that independent
reading works, that it improves reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling
and grammar, and the results of these studies have been confirmed by
the schools mentioned in the Sun's article.

I hope the Sun's report will encourage other schools to support their
school libraries and give students some time to read what they want to

Stephen Krashen"

"Children bring so much motivation...when they are allowed to select their reading materials," said the assistant superintendent.

There was even a "significant increase in family and community involvement."

They even quote reading research great Richard L. Allington: Self-motivated, voluntary reading "is the most powerful reading we have."

Whether you call it SSR (Self-Selected Reading) or FVR (Free Voluntary Reading), this is what we need more of in our school.  Now to get everyone else on board...