Sunday, August 29, 2021

Australian teen reading attitudes survey

 The following infographic summarizes an survey of 15 year old Australians.

Underwood, C. (2021). Snapshots, April 2021: What do Australian 15 year olds think about reading? ACER.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Graded readers are becoming real literature

 Graded readers are becoming real literature

Stephen Krashen, August, 2021 


I have been in quarantine for the last year, and I am reluctant to give it up. I have been exercising, practicing the piano, doing research, and …. reading. I have been trying to improve my Spanish by reading lots of easy texts, graded readers, following the advice of Beniko Mason. (I have read “authentic” Spanish, but it has been a struggle.)  And I think it is working. 


I have discovered that graded readers in Spanish have improved in quality in recent years. They have graduated from “simple stories for students” to real literature.  Until recently, I had two favorite authors writing in this genre: Bill VanPatten (e.g Angel) and Adriana Ramirez (e.g. Me Perdi en Medallin, Rigo).  I just added a third: Kristy Placido. I just finished reading her book, Testigo, La Historia de Brayan. Not just interesting, but compelling, and it gets more and more compelling as you read. And I just ordered another Placido title. 


Middle schoolers and praise study

 Middle-school students respond more to praise than criticism, especially when it comes to curbing problem behaviors, a study found. By making a point of praising desired behaviors at least as much as reprimanding undesirable behaviors, teachers improved overall class conduct by up to 70%, researchers noted.

Caldarella, P. , Larsen, R., & Williams, L. (2021). Effects of middle school teachers' praise-to-reprimand ratios on students' classroom behavior. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Administrators and school librarians study

 A recent study explores how school district leaders can foster the development of effective school libraries in which school librarians serve as instructional leaders of multiple literacies. "Results revealed two main barriers that inhibit the development of an effective school library: a) ambiguous administrative expectations for school librarians, and b) school librarians’ limited participation in the K–12 instructional program. Conversely, results demonstrated that positive relationships serve as significant supports for enabling school librarians to function as instructional leaders of multiple literacies."

Lewis, M. (2021). Enabling School Librarians to Serve as Instructional Leaders of Multiple Literacies. School Library Research, 24.

Pandemic and literacy study

 Experts say the pandemic may be interfering with young learners' ability to acquire reading skills, especially those who spend time at home doing other things instead of reading.  An analysis of data found that second- and third-grade students' reading fluency fell approximately 30% from 2019 to 2020. The pandemic also deepened inequities. 

Domingue, B. et al. (2021). Changing patterns of growth in oral reading fluency during the COVID-10 pandemic. PACE.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Pandemic Impact on Education

 COVID-19 has led to unprecedented challenges in the field of education, and now, even with a return to normalcy seemingly on the horizon, uncertainties remain. Over 600 educators were surveyed in an effort to gauge and further understand the current realities of teaching through a pandemic. The insights gained may help educational leaders strategize and plan for the coming year and beyond, as they search to find the best path forward in supporting staff and students.

Some of the findings are:

  • 90% of teachers and staff need to wear PPE.
  • 39% of teachers will teach F2F with no remote option.
  • About 70% teachers used Zoom.
  • In 42% of schools, devices are usually shared. 

Survey Says. (2020). Tech & Learning.


A recent survey conducted during the coronavirus pandemic finds that students cite depression, stress and anxiety as key barriers to learning. The survey also revealed a decline in access to trusted adults among students, with just 39% saying they have a connection to a supportive adult at school.

Learning & well-being during COVID-19(2021). YouthTruth.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

What about accent?


Stephen Krashen & Nooshan Ashtari


1.     Assumption -  accent improvement by hard work and study, conscious learning (Hammond: 51% agree that hard working and intelligent people can always succeed in eliminating foreign accent).

a.     The research: conditions difficult to meet

1.     Know the rule: e.g. comb, combing, combination – what’s the rule?

2.     Focus on form

3.     Time to retrieve & apply the rule

b.    Little research on effect of instruction for “spontaneous conversation” – 

c.     Most effective for “monitored production of specific features (Saito and Plonsky). No clear evidence it works in real conversation

d.    (Some) evidence for improvement without instruction: weak effect 

2.     The club membership hypothesis – instruction,  amount of exposure not the crucial factors

Sub - hypothesis 1: Accent marks belonging to a group

Sub – hypothesis 2: Accent acquired rapidly and well for all ages. LAD never shut off

Sub – hypothesis 3: We do not perform in all the accents we have acquired, because we don’t feel like full members of the group.

Fisher, 1958: typical boys: model boys

Typical: dominating, mischief, more aggressive: short form (goin’, comin’)

Model: thoughtful, considerate: full form (going, coming) 

Typical: shorter form 55% of the time

Model: shorter form: 3% of the time

CAN the model boys use the short form?  (YES, sub-hypothesis 2). 

Do they? (N0, sub-hypothesis 3)

3.     The OUTPUT filter – prevents us from using what we have acquired. (Discomfort)

4.     Examples

a.     1965: A conversation with Gerald Mosback in Addis Ababa. (filter down)

b.    My French falls apart: Univ. of Ottawa (filter up)

c.     I impress my daughter with my French in a Paris coffee shop. (filter down)

5.     Can classes help? Even if class improved accent? The problem lies elsewhere

a.     Rubin: evaluation of ACCENT-FREE English, picture 1 = “typical American looking”. Picture 2, not. Subjects thought picture 2 had an accent! Judgement based on picture, not the accent

b.    Ashtari (2020): Who is the native speaker? Non-NS with American accent selected over native speaker of Indian English. Effect on hiring? 

c.     How this impacts language acquirers.

Ashtari (2014): intermediate, advanced university ESL students: when talking to native speakers, what they say is grammatically correct but NS say they don’t understand, ask them to repeat. 

1)    Less willingness to talk to NS

2)    Prefer other speakers of ESL

d.    Is it their accent?

1)    Probably not. (personal experience)

2)    Problem in mind of native speakers

e.     Are there pedagogical implications of these hypotheses? Help people drop the output filter? Possible for actors (method acting?), occasionally for jokes, to solidify relationships. 

Otherwise: Painful, awkward. (Experience on a train in London.)


Talking to a potential client: Why SK didn’t get the job.

Talking to a civilian on the phone who has experienced this. 

-       P., born in UK, in US for several decades, NO British accent

-       Understood our ability to drop output filter under certain conditions, eg with family 

-       We have a spectrum of accents inside us, but we either consciously or subconsciously decide which one we use based on our environment and people we interact with and how they react to us… 


The LAD never shuts off. 





Ashtari, N. (2014). Non-native speech and feedback: The relationship between non-native speakers’ production and    native speakers’ reaction. The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 9(2), 9-17. (

Fisher, J. 1958. Social Influences on the Choice of a Linguistic Variant. Word 14: 47-56.