Stephen Krashen

Stephen Krashen received a PhD. in Linguistics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1972. Krashen has among papers (peer-reviewed and not) and books, more than 486 publications, contributing to the fields of second-language acquisitionbilingual education, and reading. He is known for introducing various hypotheses related to second-language acquisition, including the acquisition-learning hypothesis, the input hypothesis, the monitor hypothesis, the affective filter, and the natural order hypothesis. Most recently, Krashen promotes the use of free voluntary reading during second-language acquisition, which he says “is the most powerful tool we have in language education, first and second.”

Academic Literacy: Some New Directions

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Academic literacy has three components: (1) academic language, (2) content knowledge, (3) analytic thinking ability. The traditional approach has been direct instruction in (1) and (2) and the assumption that (3) happens as a result of traditional subject matter teaching.

I hypothesize that we acquire (1) academic language from self-selected reading, not from study of vocabulary, grammar or text structure. This includes reading fiction, which has been shown to contain substantial amounts of academic vocabulary. Reading fiction also contributes to (2), content knowledge. Those who read more fiction know more about academic topics such as science, history, and literature. Writing contributes to (3) analytic thinking, especially in the use of revision, a powerful way of arriving at deeper and better ideas.