Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

[Susan notes: Any teacher knows the magic of a child owning a book. I can recall the moments of book ownership among my third graders as though it were yesterday. And it was 25 years ago.

Four million children in the United Kingdom don't own a book. What do you suppose the number is in the US? ]

Submitted to Daily Telegraph but not published

To the editor

"4m children in UK do not own a single book, study finds," (Dec 6) reports that children who read more do better on reading tests than those who read less. This adds to the extraordinary amount of scientific research showing that children improve in reading by reading books they find comprehensible and interesting. Those with more access to books, at home or from libraries, read more and therefore read better.

Nevertheless, the Department of Education asserts that their preferred form of phonics (synthetic phonics) will "help boost reading scores." They are referring to the Clackmannanshire study done in Scotland several years ago. A careful reading of this study shows that children taught with synthetic phonics only did better than comparison children on a test that asked them to pronounce words in isolation. After six years, they were only three months ahead of national norms on a test that required them to understand what they read, an insignificant difference.

There is only one way to "help boost reading scores." Provide access to lots of interesting books and give children time to read them

Stephen Krashen

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.