The Power of Reading by Stephen Krashen (Full Transcript)

Stephen Krashen

Full text of The Power of Reading by Stephen Krashen

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Introducing Speaker:

Hello and welcome to another episode of the COE Lecture series where we bring you lectures, discussions and workshops on a variety of topics related to the broad fields of education. Today we bring you the first of two recent seminars presented by Dr. Stephen Krashen, Americas Professor of Education at the University of Southern California. His topic today: The Power of Reading. Dr. Krashen’s visit was co-sponsored by the Department of Language and Literacy Education and the LLE Graduate Organization.

Stephen Krashen

They have to do this first. Okay. It says turn off when you go to the bathroom. Okay. Did you see that movie? Remember it’s one of the Police Story movies with the guy kept – OK.

Thank you, Christine, for that wonderful introduction. I do have some comments on the introduction, though. I have to add some information. It’s true about the black belt. That is true but I got the black belt on the basis of the written examination. As for the weightlifting, that part is true and that part is — that’s from my days in Venice Beach California in Gold’s Gym where I worked out with Arnold. You want some Arnold stories? This is usually the only thing people remember from my talk, I mention this.

Yeah, I worked out with Arnold in the old days in Venice Beach and in Gold’s Gym and I got to tell you a real story about Arnold. Nice guy. No question, absolute Prince. Arnold was legendary on the beach for being a nice guy and being a big help. You’d be working out by yourself doing your concentration girls and Arnold would come over and say, can I make a suggestion please?

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And so, try it like this, don’t quite extend, put your mind in your bicep. Always right. Everything he said turned out to be true. We would share things. You know, Arnold told me, he told me – and he was always right. He was already the world’s number one bodybuilder, Mr. Universe three times when he came.

As for governor, oh my… airplane pilot needed, no experience necessary, learn on the job, and a colleague of mine have an article coming out about how Arnold really learned English. Did he go through immersion or was it bilingual ed which he imposes? He was bilingual ed. He had a good background in the first language.

Let me reintroduce myself a little as well too, because Christine has emphasized my background in second language acquisition, foreign language and bilingual education which is where I come from with all this. But I feel like a country-western singer crossing over in that today I’m going to be talking entirely about literacy in general. In fact, I’m going to be talking about the literacy crisis in America.

Now what makes me an expert on the literacy crisis? I am an expert and I want to give you my credentials. I was there when the literacy crisis began. The literacy crisis began officially October 4th, 1986 on a Thursday afternoon three o’clock Pacific Coast Time. It began on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Now what was I doing at home: watching Oprah Winfrey. At the time I was a tenured full professor at a major research university. Are there any questions? What a job, it was great anyway. Every time they tell you we feel your pain – no, they don’t, anyway.

Oprah had this show and you know what, Oprah is very influential. She did this very compelling program about these 6 adult illiterates. These are guys who had gone to our schools in the United States and were native speakers of English and never learned to read and write at all.

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