Here is a great New York Times Article about the future of reading, and whether reading online has the same affect as reading a book does.
As teenagers’ scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading — diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books.
But others say the Internet has created a new kind of reading, one that schools and society should not discount. The Web inspires a teenager like Nadia, who might otherwise spend most of her leisure time watching television, to read and write.
Providence Talks is a great organization based in Rhode Island. The voluntary program gives low-income families “word pedometers” that count the number of words spoken to their children under four. The organization uses this information to work with families to increase the word count.
Early results demonstrate that simple access to information can be powerful. In one pilot study, caretakers presented with data on their child’s vocabulary development increased their adult daily word count by 55% on average.
Check them out at their website here.
Here is a great New York Times article regarding the knowledge gap and the importance of talking to children before they can respond.
Trying to Close a Knowledge Gap, Word by Word
“’We don’t want parents talking at babies,’ Ms. Lerner said. ‘We want parents talking with babies.'”
Scholastic has a wonderful study done by UT researchers here. In the study, a group of children were given 12 reading books to read during the summer, while the children in the control group were given activity and puzzle books. The results of the study showed that there are enormous benefits to summer reading!
There is also a great New York Times article about the study here.
The decline in reading and spelling skills are greatest among low-income students, who lose the equivalent of about two months of school each summer, according to the National Summer Learning Association, an education advocacy group. And the loss compounds each year.
Barnes and Noble has a great reading program to encourage kids to read. For every 8 books a kid reads, they get a free one. Find more info here!