Blog Posts

07 December, 2007

More on the Changing Face of Literacy

The Chicago Sun-Times editorial of December 6, 2007 is a thoughtful and helpful response to the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) recent report on reading. The Sun-Times “informal survey” reveals much that NEA missed. The NEA report claims reading has disappeared from the lives of young people and that this loss limits educational attainment as well as the economic, social, and physical health of the nation. The Sun-Times shows that the picture is more complicated than that. Reading hasn’t necessarily disappeared, but it certainly has changed, and technology is the culprit in either scenario. One image of this is the ...

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21 November, 2007

Reading Hard Books to Kids

        I'm frequently asked about reading to children. Obviously reading to kids is a good idea, though this is one of those satisfying times when the research literature actually supports the good idea. Research clearly shows that reading to children improves their oral language development (at this stage the evidence that it contributes directly to the improvement of reading skills is pretty sparse).         Turn on the news and there is a PSA encouraging parents to read to their kids. You take your child in for a check up and the pediatrician gifts you with ...

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19 November, 2007

Why Aren't Young People Reading?

          The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has done a great service by trying to monitor how much young people and adults are reading. http:Although I certainly agree with NEA on the importance of reading--especially extended reading of challenging and worthwhile text, and I suspect that NEA is right students and adults are doing less of such reading these days, I do have some disagreements with them.           One concern is that I think their measurement of amount of reading is likely flawed. People are notoriously bad at reporting how they spend their ...

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12 November, 2007

The Chicago Reading Framework

For several years, I have used a basic framework for guiding my action in the public schools. I have used this framework as a consultant when guiding others to improve achievement, and I used it myself as director of reading of the Chicago Public Schools. The description below lays out some of the basics. This is a piece I wrote for my teachers and principals in Chicago awhile back, to give them a sense of the essential direction that instruction needs to take.             The Chicago Reading Framework emerged from work that I have done in schools ...

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07 November, 2007

Does He Really Think Kids Shouldn't Read

          Here is one of my most controversial columns as President of the International Reading Association. It upset a lot of people, but it is important that everyone understands that encouraging kids to read effectively isn't as easy as first thought. Does he really think kids shouldn’t read?           I’m a new president. And some might wonder about my ability to represent IRA. So, let me begin this first column of my presidency with an appraisal of the IRA mission.           IRA has three purposes: (1) to improve the quality of ...

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