Reading Aloud & The Decline in Fluency: Remedy ?

A discussion is brewing over the lack of parents reading aloud to their children. I happened upon the brouhaha at the wonderful blog of Jen Robinson (Kid Lit promoter extraordinaire!). It seems some fancy studies have been conducted to tell those of us in the education field something we already know: nobody is reading to the kids.

After a bit of searching, I found that Google has Timothy Rasinski's The Fluent Reader as part of their online free library. There's also alternatives to old fashioned round robin reading HERE. Why, my own soapbox rant on fluency and the use of recorded stories was the second link. Need more research? Here & Here. And though, RIF has a fantastic article telling parents why this effort is so important, it doesn't solve the dilemma: not enough parents are reading to their children.

I'll take it a step further and say, not only are they not reading enough to their children, they're also not discussing stories with them! I can tell you, as can most teachers, that fluency is a real problem right now. Students don't know what words, sentences, stories are supposed to sound like. We don't need a study to tell us what we can observe firsthand. And for the parent reading who wishes their child's teacher spent more time reading aloud, something I also wish, one has to understand the rush of curriculum into a small patch of day that prevents unrestrained love of story in a classroom setting.

But the real question is how do we promote a change?

It'd be easy to assign the blame to the lower socio-economic crowd and throw some government funds at promoting literacy in those neighborhoods, but the Lexus driving soccer Moms aren't reading to Johnny at night either. Believe me. I taught for years in a high socio-economic neighborhood. They all owned a Harry Potter book, but nary a one had read it with the kids.

How do we go about slowing people down enough to see the joys, benefits and immeasurable pleasure they'll get from cuddling with a book and their baby? Has society grown so selfish and so driven they're incapable of tasting the sweetness of small pleasures?

I feel like I'll be preaching to the choir with this post, but maybe we might come up with an idea...
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