Tuesday, September 24, 2013
OU's Linda Pavonetti promotes childhood reading in Singapore By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant
As media reports indicate a global decline in literary interests among today's youth, Oakland University's Linda Pavonetti, Ed.D., is doing her part to ensure that the virtues of reading never go out of style.
Last month, the professor and chair of Oakland's Department of Reading and Language Arts took part in a public forum held at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) General Conference and Assembly in Singapore. The conference is the premier professional and trade event for the library and information services sector and brings together more than 3,500 scholars from more than 120 countries.
The public forum, “Getting Kids to Read in this Busy World – An International Perspective,” featured a panel of experts who shared their insights on global reading trends with a focus on promoting strong reading habits among children and young adults.
“Reading motivation is at the heart of the topic we were given,” said Dr. Pavonetti, who also serves as vice president of the International Board on Books for Young People. “I shared some research about reading motivation and how we can help emergent readers. I also explained the results of a study I did in the late 1990s that indicated several things that influence lifelong reading habits. Classroom teachers who read aloud to students were the greatest in-school influence but outside the classroom, it was parents – parents who are readers and model reading in the home.”
In connection with the IFLA conference, Dr. Pavonetti was also featured on a Singapore TV show and penned an editorial for a national news publication. Through these platforms, she stressed the importance of reaching children early to instill a lifelong passion for reading.
In the interview on Channel NewsAsia's “AM Live” program, Dr. Pavonetti appeared alongside fellow IFLA conference participant Ingrid Kallstrom, children's librarian at Stockholm Public Library. The pair discussed a host of issues, including the role of technology in sparking literary interests among children and young adults. Watch the interview on YouTube below.
“I was amazed at how informed the show’s hosts were,” Dr. Pavonetti said. “They were able to adjust and formulate new questions rather than just reading from the teleprompter. To me, the TV show was like teaching a graduate class—the hosts wanted to learn what was best for their own children as well as those of their viewers.”
In the editorial, published in the Singapore newspaper "The Straits Times," Dr. Pavonetti shared the story of how her son Christopher's love of books stayed with him through life's challenges. She recalled how doctors encouraged her to read to her son after a car accident left him in a coma during his senior year of high school. Despite a grim prognosis, he went on to make a “miraculous” recovery and eventually graduated from high school and college.
“Christopher was a child who loved books,” Dr. Pavonetti wrote. “If I could do one thing for the world it would be to impress upon parents, grandparents, nannies, teachers, care-givers—anyone who comes in contact with children—to read and share books with them.”
For more information about programs, courses, and events in OU’s Department of Reading and Language Arts, view the website at oakland.edu/rla.
To learn more about academics, achievements, and events at OU, visit the news site at oakland.edu/newsatou and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.