Just received copies of 'Free Voluntary Reading' and 'The Power of Reading' by Stephen Krashen - definitive studies collating worldwide research on how children and school students exposed to a wide range of books, given time to do sustained silent reading, will show up every time as scoring high on any reading and writing test that authorities want to throw at them. In terms of comprehension, SSR will have a far greater effect than intensive systematic synthetic phonics. Mixed methods including basic phonics married to exposure to a wide range of books, and timetabled time for SSR (including browsing and choosing) , will always outscore.
I hope this will be at least part of the message going out from today's 'Reading for Pleasure' conference with Booktrust, National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency.
I will write more about the Stephen Krashen's books and the conference later.