Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding (and the "50 Multicultural Books" List)
Weekend Movies: Jane Eyre (The 8 Minute Version)

Let 'Em Read What They Want

Tara Parker-Pope reports on an interesting new study about children and summer reading, at the New York Times:

Now new research offers a surprisingly simple, and affordable, solution to the summer reading slide. In a three-year study, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that simply giving low-income children access to books at spring fairs — and allowing them to choose books that most interested them — had a significant effect on the summer reading gap.

To read the entire piece, go here. I was tickled at the top choice of book-fair participants, and wowed by the last sentences in the piece, a quote from an expert.

You'll notice that book fairs play a role in the study; the children involved chose free new books there. I have seen at a school where I volunteer that many kids cannot afford to buy books at the book fair, and often can bring only a dollar or so to buy some erasers or bookmarks. This is why organizations like Reading Is Fundamental and First Book are so important; both distribute free new books to kids.

Comments

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Oh my gosh, it makes me want to get out there and start giving away books on the street...we do a lot of book giving away in conjunction with our library book sales, and maybe next spring I'll time it so as to conincide with the start of vacation...

i can't lay my hands on it at the moment, but a recent survey also showed that there was a correlation between ownership of books and the likelihood of graduating high school and going onto college. so in addition to letting kids read whatever they want, if we let them keep what they read they will come to value books more.

i'm wondering if ownership via e-books will have the same effect.

Thanks for linking to this - it's hard to believe we're still struggling to convince parents that the books kids WANT are the books they should HAVE... although I'm guilty of it too: I wince when my 7 year old picks Sonic the Hedgehog over Nate the Great!

We keep seeing more and more research that points to owning books, or having books in the house, as indicators of future achievement. Makes you want to replace every single Happy Meal piece of crap with a paperback!

Charlotte, David, and Paula, I a lot of stupid arguments between parents and children at libraries and bookstores about what the children have chosen to read.

I feel that new books are so important too for the children. Then they can build a library with books that are only theirs and don't have to wonder what's stuck between the two pages that don't turn!

My sweetheart first-grade friends cannot afford to buy much at the book fair. While I can help them out with a title or two, I would LOVE for them go home with a stack of free books! And they'd love it, too. They are SO motivated to become good readers.

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