Why do teachers gravitate to Dahl’s books over the newer, shinier books that line the shelves?
Dahl’s popularity among teachers raises a question worth considering:
- A study conducted in 1999 by the U.S. Dept. of Education found that “children who were read to at least three times a week had a significantly greater phonemic awareness when they entered kindergarten than did children who were read to less often” (9). Those children who scored in the top 25th percentile in reading were almost always the ones who were read to three times a week.
- In 2004, the U.S. Dept of Education studied the reading-aloud and oral communication between parents and children from professional, working class, and poverty backgrounds. When the words these children were exposed to from birth to four years was totaled, the results were telling: “the four-year-old child from the professional family will have heard 45 million words, the working-class child 26 million, and the welfare child only 13 million. All three children will show up for kindergarten on the same day, but one will have heard 32 million fewer words.”