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Early Childhood Reading Gap Statistic Pretty Questionable, Says Freakonomics

There was much controversy when Freakonomics said that reading at home doesn't help test scores. Now the Freakonomics blog points out that the much-cited stat about kids and exposure to words before school is, well, sketchy (A Data Pool of One). The number comes from a 1990 book whose author used her child as the sole point of comparison between rich and poor kids being read to. (There were only 24 low-income children in the study pool all together.) If a stat seems too good to be true, it probably is. Not that the UPK mafia won't keep using it.

I've always had my doubts about this but it was just intuitive. It seems to me that the way to get better at something - even reading - is to do it, not have someone else do it for you.

But I admit I could be missing something.

I think motivating kids to read books has become more difficult because computers, internet and other technology has become so prominent. One way to encourage reading and learning is to use technology to engage and inpire kids. Sites like Ziproad.org and Beehive.org have interactive tools and games for kids to explore and learn as well as get homework help. Because literacy is so important, I think anything that encourages kids to read and enjoy learning should be considered and utilized.

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