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[Susan notes: I had read the New Yorker piece and thought, 'someone should write them.'

Of course someone did.]

Submitted to The New Yorker but not published

To the editor

Re: The Percy Jackson Problem

There is no "Percy Jackson Problem" (October 22). Decades of research published in scientific journals support Neil Gaiman's position that the "light" reading that young people select on their own is a gateway to heavier reading and more: Those who do more "free voluntary reading" do better on tests of reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary, spelling and grammar, and as they read they select, on their own, more challenging and a wider variety of reading material. In his book Scientific Genius Dean Simonton concludes that "omnivorous reading in childhood and adolescence correlates positively with ultimate adult success."

The scientific evidence clearly supports the "so long as they're reading" camp.

some sources:

Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited and Heinemann (second edition)

Simonton, D. K. 1988. Scientific Genius. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Stephen Krashen

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