Nothing to Read on Their Own

“Children who live in poverty have fewer books in their home, sometimes none. Fewer books in their neighborhood, fewer bookstores. They go to schools with inferior classroom libraries, school libraries, etc. You can have the best teaching in the world, and it’s not going to help when children are hungry, undernourished, ill, and have nothing to read on their own.

“The more people read for pleasure – free voluntary reading – the higher their literacy scores. We have an astonishing amount or research showing this is true. You can have the best teaching in the world, and it’s not going to help when children are ill, undernourished, and have nothing to read on their own.
— Dr. Steven Krashen, professor emeritus, USC

Below is a short, clear overview of Dr. Krashen’s findings about access to books, condensing decades researching in the field. His presentation is directed to the need for classroom and school libraries, but his research also relates to the need for bookstores and general access to books.

For more details, see the full report Krashen presented Why Invest in Libraries (PDF) to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education (2/11/14).

Thanks to Dr. Jesse Turner, professor of Literacy, Elementary, and Early Childhood Education at Central Connecticut State University, for sharing this source.

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