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[Susan notes: Great line: These children need Goosebumps and Harry Potter, not "intensive intervention." We need to repeat this often. Not to mention how many books the intensive phonics instruction would buy.]

Submitted to Toledo Blade but not published
06/07/2004

To the editor





I feel sorry for the 350 third graders in Toledo who have to endure drill and practice sessions this summer to bring up their reading test scores ("Summer attendees to get reading help," June 7). Not only will their classes be boring, but they won't work - the curriculum will include reading's five "main points" (phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency"). But phonics and phonemic awareness instruction have little impact on tests of

reading given beyond grade 1, and vocabulary,

comprehension and fluency are best developed by actual reading. The strong impact of summertime

recreational reading on reading proficiency has been confirmed in recent studies by Fay Shin of California State University Long Beach and Jimmy Kim of Harvard.



These children need Goosebumps and Harry Potter, not "intensive intervention." The $208,000 the district plans to spend could buy 10,000 books, nearly 30 per child. Making these books available and encouraging reading would result in a much more pleasant summer and higher reading test scores as well.



Stephen Krashen


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