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Published in Washington Post
03/19/2002

Spend Money on Books, Not Programs

The Post's article on giving children rewards for reading ("Heavy reading reaps benefits," March 19) does not include the scientific research. The research says that students who receive rewards for reading do not read better or read more than those who do not. There is, however, plenty of evidence that reading itself encourages more reading; for example, children who participate in sustained silent reading programs read more on their own than those who do not, even years after the program ends. This research suggests that when programs such as Accelerated Reader and Reading Counts! appear to work it is because of the increased access to interesting books, not the tests and rewards. The money spent on such programs might be better spent on books.

Stephen Krashen, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor
University of Southern California


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