Out-of-School Independent Reading

Several studies point to the importance of out-of-school reading (Anderson et al., 1988; Greaney, 1980). The Commission on Reading, based on its review of these studies, concluded: "Research also shows that the amount of reading done out of school is consistently related to gains in reading achievement" (Anderson et al., 1985, p. 7). That same review suggested that there was extremely wide variability in the amount of independent reading that students did at home. However, it was determined that most students spent very little time reading at home. About half of the students read for only four minutes or less per day. Clearly there is substantial reason to try to increase the amount of reading that students do outside of school.

Since availability of books is associated with the amount of independent reading students do (Morrow & Weinstein, 1986) and since the availability of a personal library is associated with increased achievement (Crowell & Klein, 1981), parents should be encouraged to take their children to libraries and to purchase books for them if they can afford to do so. Efforts should be made to find ways to send books to the homes of all students, and especially to the homes of students whose families cannot afford to purchase them.


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