Tag Archive | free voluntary reading

The Need for Collaboration

I found another crucial work that should be read by all librarians, information professionals,  educators, administrators, parents, ans even politicians. this is major issue that needs to be fixed by the government all the way down to parents teaching in their homes. If today’s children can not read to evaluate, analyze, or comprehend the information that they’ve read how are we to survive as as free thinking society?

Readicide defined by Kelly Gallagher is “the systematic killing of  the love of reading , often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools”(2). This is a extremely harsh and eye opening book about how schools have centered their curriculum around test preparedness and have dropped the necessity of reading.  Gallagher has supported his argument with supplementary studies, research, and even his own experiences as a teacher.  Gallagher points out that Sustained Silent Reading is crucial in developing a habit of reading and also is a form of test investment. Gallagher even uses Stephen Krashen’s the Power of Reading to back up his claim. Krashen’s book is another influential work of the importance that reading can have on a child’s development.

Gallagher’s book is focused toward teachers and how they can implement these ideas into their curriculum however there is a message for librarians to take away from this as well. First off, if librarians understand what is going on in the schools, and how reading is dying then librarians can supplement literacy skills with the library’s materials. Second, librarians can see this as a opportunity to join forces with the teachers to reinforce reading in the schools.

Some of Gallagher’s advice can also apply to librarians as well. Taking a stand- as librarians we can go to parents, educators, administration, and community members and advocate for reading to be reinstated in schools, homes, and how the library can assist them. Use books with real world text- Librarians can acquire materials such as newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and online sources to give children and teens to read as current event material. Fight against summer reading loss-Librarians are instrumental in this situation by providing ample recreational reading for youth and a exciting summer reading program. This can help fight against the loss of reading levels during the summer.

And most of all, with each of these actions it is crucial for librarians and teachers to be collaborating on this subject. In Twenty-first Century Kids,  Twenty-First Century Librarians by Virginia Walter, she also values the collaboration of librarians and educators. Walters explains that there should be goals that the partnership sets like,  producing real benefits, have a network of communication,  and must have more than the exchange of getting something each wants.  Walters and Gallagher’s works go hand in hand for librarians because they both promote the same ideas; collaboration  outreach, reading, and the role of librarians.

If our society wants at all to become better and effectively educate tomorrow’s future, then Gallagher’s advice should be taken seriously. As librarians we should be aware of the impact of reading and include this in our agenda when we coordinate with other information professionals.

Advertisements

Revelation on Reading

This week I had many realizations about reading and school. It all came from this book,  The Power of Reading: Insights from Research by Stephen Krashen. Krashen provides a well argued point about how reading is very influential in the development of a child.  Krashen uses many different research studies, articles, and profound sources that illustrate this point.

One of the important lessons to take away from this book is that free voluntary reading (FVR) is the best way to develop literacy and results in better test scores. FVR is defined as reading for personal gain or without being graded. This type of indirect education for children is proven to be better than direct instruction.  Direct instruction is when a language arts teacher lectures about spelling, grammar, or vocabulary. Then the teacher gives worksheets or homework, and if the teacher makes corrections on errors students are supposed to just recall the answer. Krashen gives many examples of the methods and explains what the research shows and it points to FVR.

There are many factors that play into if FVR will actually work or not.  Krashen insists that each component be included for a child to read. For example, if the child has the access to get books through purchase or renting at a school or public library.  Other factors include environment, libraries,reading aloud, time,  and encouragement.  The reading environmental should be quiet, comfortable, and inviting. The library should be avaiable to the child whether at school, or have a caregiver take child to public library. Caregivers should read aloud to the child, and then the child should do it on their own.  Time should be allotted for the child to read at school or home. Also, encouragement should be given from teachers, caregivers, and siblings so that the child will feel pleasure from reading.

Another important point that Krashen makes is that light or pleasure reading is not detrimental, but actually important. Krashen uses the example of comics and teen romance as genres that children or young adults are interested in. These two examples are not certainly what the teachers and parents may want them to read, but it is a gateway to other more sophisticated reading. For example, reading graphic novels as a child could lead them to read Stephen King as a adult and then lead them to journal articles about psychology.

Of course like every human, as I was reading I related this book back to myself and my childhood days. I liked reading as a child and always would participate in summer reading. However, while I was in grade, middle, and high school I do not recall ever having time for voluntary reading during school. But I do have memories of being in language art classes and being totally confused.  I am living proof direct instruction does not work, at least on me. I struggled to grasp the rules, grammar, and spelling through this type of instruction.  I was finally able to catch up through reading and repetition  of the same mistake. As I was reading this book, it just clicked with me why this did not work and I was able to comprehend what Krashen was saying on a personal level.

I recommend  this book to anyone who has doubts about the effects of reading on a child. I also think that this book should be read by all teachers, librarians, parents, and anyone on involved in education because it presents a strong argument that there is tremedous power gained from reading.