Use of Authentic Literature at All Levels and With All Abilities

Researchers have found that when we rewrite texts in an attempt to make them easier for students to read, we actually make them more difficult (Simons & Ammon, 1989). By giving students at all levels authentic literature, we provide them with natural language that serves as a model for expanding their language base, helps to increase their vocabularies, excites and captivates their imaginations, and motivates them to learn. Research shows that when different types of students at various grade levels are given authentic literature as the core of their reading program, their achievement is higher and they have more positive attitudes about reading and writing (Cohen, 1968; Morrow, 1992; Tunnell & Jacobs, 1989).

Authentic literature is not just for children who can already read or for gifted students. It is for all students as they learn to read -- including students experiencing various difculties with learning (Chomsky, 1978; Morrow, 1992; Pinnell, Fried, & Estice, 1990) and second language learners (Larrick, 1987; Rigg & Allen, 1989). As Charlotte Huck has said, "We don't achieve literacy and then give children literature; we achieve literacy through literature" (Huck, 1989, p. 258).

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