Light Reading

Increasingly, our society is embracing self-selected “light” books for pleasure reading.  Over two-thirds of children say they read for fun, most often about sports and celebrities (Hughes, 2007).  Consider Taylor Swift’s A World of Possible push to get kids reading.  Or catch up on Usher’s Bigger than Words movement.

Graphic novels and comic book sales approach a billion dollars annually (Lubin).  Krashen and Ujjije explain that “comic book reading and other kinds of light reading may serve as an important bridge from everyday ‘conversational’ language to … ‘academic language'” (1996, 51).

The ghost of “classic” children’s literature will always be there, lurking over children’s heads and scaring reluctant readers away.  However, we grown-ups are finally realizing the importance of “junk food reading” or “light reading” to foster life-long love for reading (Krashen 2006, 5).

“We still study the great writers of another century. … The traditional taste of a few men, the vanity, the fashion, the genius of one actor can sustain for a while or reveal the aristocratic theater at the heart of a democracy.”-Alexis de Tocqueville”

“On étudie encore les grands écrivains d’un autre siècle. …Le gout traditionnel de quelques hommes, la vanité́, la mode, le génie d’un acteur, peuvent soutenir quelque temps ou relever un théâtre aristocratique au sein d’une démocratie.”  Alexis de Tocqueville



 “Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the twenty- first-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and, worse, unpleasant.” –Neil Gailman



“ When you take a forklift and shovel off the programs, underneath it all is a child reading a book.”
Donalyn Miller




Bean, T. & Walker, N. (2005). Sociocultural influences on content area teacher’s selection and use of multiple texts. Reading Research and Instruction, 44(4), 61- 77.

Hughes-Hassell, S. & Rodge, P. (September 2007). The Leisure Reading Habits of Urban Adolescents.  The Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 51, 1: 22–33 .

Krashen, S. &  Ujiie, J. (1996). Comic Book Reading, Reading Enjoyment, and Pleasure Reading Among Middle Class and Chapter 1 Middle School Student.  Reading Improvement 33, 1: 51-54.

Krashen, S. &  Ujiie, J. (2005). Junk Food is Bad For You, but Junk Reading is Good for You.  International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 1,3: 5-12.


Krashen, S. (2001). Do teenagers like to read? Yes! Reading Today 18(5): 16.


Published by

Claire Walter

I am an ESL teacher and I promote differentiated, compassionate instruction and assessment for English Language Learners.

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