Access to Books
NOTE: This was posted on the NCTE Connected Community-- in response to a discussion about whether the lack of access to books is THE major problem for children of poverty.
Join the conversation there.
by Stephen Krashen
True, improving libraries/access to books to stimulate literacy development will not solve every problem for children of poverty. But it is necessary. Extensive, self-selected reading is the only way we build up the competence that allows us to read heavy academic and literary texts, and for children of poverty, the library is the main place these children can have access to books. The reason I keep talking about it and presenting the evidence is because our professional organizations have been so feeble in supporting reading and libraries and funding for public and school libraries continues to be cut.
The organizations are very good at making pious pronouncements about the need for higher levels of literacy but do nearly nothing to help provide the crucial ingredient for literacy development. I criticized the IRA two years ago for not even mentioning books and reading in their policy paper ("Policy paper slights books" (Original title: A Significant Omission in the IRA Policy Paper: Access to Books for All Students) Published in Reading Today, February/March 2009, vol 26, 4. Page 18).
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