Krashen, Stephen D., Sy-Ying Lee, and Christy Lao. Comprehensible and Compelling: The Causes and Effects of Free Voluntary Reading.
Krashen, Stephen D., Sy-Ying Lee, and Christy Lao. Comprehensible and Compelling: The Causes and Effects of Free Voluntary Reading. Libraries Unlimited, November 2017. 106p. $35.00. 978-144085798-0.
"Self-selected reading is the bridge to advanced language competence." Krashen and company take you through every step of their research on reading with an emphasis on self-selected materials. They start with the idea that reading compelling and intriguing stories will get readers interested. Then they explain their three stages of reading: Hearing stories, free voluntary reading, and specialized reading. The authors caution the reader on the dos and donts of read-a-louds, warning that people tend to think that read-alouds do more than we think they do--thus ruining their effectiveness. But once again, their main focus is on self-selected materials. Light reading is thought to be a waste of time by many people--that the only true reading is difficult reading. But these authors make the point that "the best way to encourage reading' is to provide access to compelling reading materials." In other words, what they select to read for fun matters in a way many don't realize. They may be reading "junk," but they are reading. The fluency created with self-selected materials leads to success with academic vocabulary.
This text is the one we have been waiting for in terms of free reading. It provides research that reinforces the idea that any reading supports academic reading. We need to remove the stigma from self-selected reading and encourage our young readers to read what they like to prevent them from giving up reading all together.--Barbara Allen