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The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  523 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Continuing the case for free voluntary reading set out in the book's 1993 first edition, this new, updated, and much-looked-for second edition explores new research done on the topic in the last ten years as well as looking anew at some of the original research reviewed. Krashen also explores research surrounding the role of school and public libraries and the research ind ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 180 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by Libraries Unlimited (first published January 15th 1993)
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Sep 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Three points stick out to me from this book: 1) Reading is the key to better comprehension, grammar, spelling, writing style, and vocab; 2) Reading is more important to learning how to write well than writing practice is; and 3) light reading is intellectually, academically, and socially viable. While I'm in full agreement and excited about points 1 and 3, point 2 scares me. As a writing instructor, part of my philosophy is that to write well, one should practice writing. I've always believed re ...more
MisterBarker Room203
Jun 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: pedagogy
Krashen is "The Man."
I don't always agree, but I always THINK more and differently after reading him.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some great evidence for why reading is so important. Krashen highlights lots of research showing why free voluntary reading is actually the most effective way to improve reading skills, vocabulary acquisition, and writing style. He also discusses reading incentives and why they don't work.

Krashen is one of the best advocates for librarians in our role as encouraging free choice reading. Loved this book.
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The book “The Power of Reading, Second Edition: Insights from the Research” by Stephen Krashen absolutely blew me away. I had no idea reading for pleasure was so beneficial.

We know that learning to speak is instinctual for children, that as long as the adults around them talk to them, that language will come naturally.

Reading, on the other hand, is not quite so natural. Children need to be taught the mechanics of sounding out words, and helped along as they learn the basics. But, according to Dr
Nov 21, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm moving this book to my "read" list even though I didn't finish it completely. I'm giving it 3 stars only because it wasn't "easy reading"....unless you like to read textbooks with hundreds of cited studies. Krashen definitely did his research! I would say the basic premise is how important reading is, mostly FVR (free voluntary reading), basically reading on your own for pleasure and how FVR is the most effective way to increase literacy. The cited studies show that FVR improves spelling, re ...more
Note: if you're thinking of reading this, make sure to get the second edition. I inadvertently ended up with the first edition and since this book is all about summarising research the first edition is a bit outdated.

It's a fairly quick read that gives a nice overview of the arguments in favour of ample room for individual sustained reading in language education.

Early on I worried that Krashen was suggesting doing away with most instruction, working from the complexity hypothesis, that says ma
Dana Berglund
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very good, fast read that summarizes some of the research on reading, especially free voluntary reading (rather than reading instruction). Krashen is a prolific researcher, and often has his own research (or that of his grad students, I would assume) to back up his points. I read the second edition, from 2004, and would like to see it updated further still. The research on comic books and on television viewing all seem dated to me; few studies more recent than 1995 seem to have been cited. Overa ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschooling
Stephen D. Krashen provides a solid argument in favor of self-directed reading in the classroom. Krashen provides numerous studies to back up his claims that children who choose their own books and have ample opportunity to read them during school will see improvements in vocabulary, spelling, grammar, writing, and reading scores.
This research has been here for years. When will parents, educators, administrators, and government officials realize that to improve reading, children need to read? It
Mar 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who want to read about reading
Recommended to Robin by: read about it on GNLIB
Well, the specific reason that I requested this title from another library was to read the section on the importance of pleasure reading, specifically the use of comic books to "hook" young people into reading. So I've only read a small section of the book so far but what I've read, I like.

The section on reading comics is as good as I hoped it would be. Krashen has some interesting connections to make for readers and those who are encouraging young people to read.
Nov 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching-english
A must for teachers of Language Arts. Period. I disagree with the reviewer who found this to be text book-like: "TPR" felt like a conversation with a smart and passionate researcher, the sort who can break down big issues into simple concepts. While there is plenty of attention paid to SSR, Krashen also unpacks the importance of access to text as essential to reading efficacy. He tackles Accelerated Reader.

Give this as a gift to any children's or teen librarian you know.
Jared Reck
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Krashen's work--especially this book--is consistently cited by Gallagher, Atwell, Schmoker, Alfie Kohn, and others. I thought it was time to read the book they all kept citing--loaded with interesting research studies done over the past century on benefits of free voluntary reading over traditional reading instruction.
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I bought this for my middle school library professional collection after reading it for a class. Though the research citations do detract from the enjoyment of reading it, I can move past them to the heart of the book. I will be pushing for Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) time in our Language Arts classes.
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teachers and parents
This book is mind-blowing and I'm only part way through it. I wish my teachers knew about this stuff when I was in school: free voluntary reading is the best thing for growing children into thinking and literate adults.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Yeah, baby -- free voluntary reading !! (aka, FVR!!). (Seriously, tho, required reading for anyone seriously interested in literacy and 'the problem of literacy.' This is an authority -- all the research, succinct, and pointed. For everyone else.....whatever ;-) ).
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Krashen is the free voluntary reading maverick, and this book lays out the research and makes his case. I like the take-aways in bullets in the margins: good for busy professionals who need research-based talking points.
Pashew Majeed
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read the second edition as an ebook but after a while ordered for the first edition in paper, which is the current one. It is a very useful resources for literacy educators and language teachers in the realization of the power that recreational reading has.
Mendel Chernack
May 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every teacher and parent
Shelves: forteachers
the case for free voluntary reading- why it is essential to have our students choose what they read.
krashen is pretty much the godfather of reading research. good stuff.
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
One of my favorite library school books. He dismisses phonics-based curriculum and simply states that a child learns to read by reading.
Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
I also read this for my thesis as an undergrad. It was my first introduction to research on literacy. I'd love to read more books like this.
anita kelly
Jul 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
So I read this for a class and found it amazingly awesome because it backs up everything I want to do with my life.
Dec 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-for-work
Best book I know of for teaching ESOL students. Can't get any better.
Barbara Lovejoy
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I had read the earlier edition of this book years ago and LOVED it. This newer edition is great, too. It is definitely a book that will influence the literacy program at our charter school.
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A great book for anyone wanting to address the literacy problem. I would highly recommend it.
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book's research on Free and Voluntary Reading justifies the existence of school libraries and intellectual freedom for children. You're the best, Stephen Krashen.
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
Great, readable research!
Taylor Troncin
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pre-2016-read
Lots of interesting thoughts/ideas! I have to pick five quotes for the class that I am enrolled in.... How can I only pick five?!
Debbie Waskiewich
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read! I love his explanation/research as to why one shouldn't give extrinsic rewards to children/students for reading! Highly recommend!
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent and informative!
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
The book is meta-summary of various researches on the effects of 'free voluntary reading'.
The contents are dry, and academic.
Non the less, interesting to see the effects of reading on various language acquisition and improvement (measured by various academic tests). In seems like, when it comes to language, free reading is the best tool, even better than direct instructions. Kind of make sense, if you think of complexity of language which cannot be covered by individual instructions.
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Stephen Krashen is professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, who moved from the linguistics department to the faculty of the School of Education in 1994. He is a linguist, educational researcher, and activist.

Dr. Krashen has published more than 350 papers and books, contributing to the fields of second-language acquisition, bilingual education, and reading. He is credited with i

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