Comprehensible and Compelling
The Causes and Effects of Free Voluntary Reading
by Stephen D. Krashen, Sy-Ying Lee, and Christy Lao
November 2017, 106pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-5798-0
$40, £31, 35€, A55
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5799-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Humans acquire language when we understand what we hear or read, but acquisition happens best when the input is interesting or compelling. You can also apply this principle for literacy development.

A joint effort from three thought leaders in educational research, linguistics, and literacy acquisition, this book explores the latest research that shows that compelling comprehensive input (CCI) is the baseline for all language and literacy development.

It has been established that encouraging reading at all student levels supports literacy—not just literacy in terms of having basic reading and writing abilities, but in being able to perform advanced reading as well as having well-developed listening, speaking, and critical thinking skills. But what kind of reading has the most benefit for young learners? And why? Comprehensible and Compelling: The Causes and Effects of Free Voluntary Reading examines the most recent research and literacy testing results from around the world that document how reading materials must be comprehensible and compelling to bring success. It also presents research findings that show how libraries directly support literacy development, providing arguments and proof that will be invaluable in advocacy efforts for funding and program development.


  • Addresses and interprets current international research on literacy development
  • Documents the value of libraries in providing access for literacy development
  • Provides compelling research-based arguments for reading aloud, free voluntary reading, and reading to one's strengths
  • Identifies and explains the three stages in the development of the highest level of literacy: hearing stories, self-selected recreational reading, and specialized reading in an area of deep personal interest
Stephen D. Krashen is an influential and prolific author, linguist, and researcher who has written nearly 500 books and articles in the fields of literacy, language acquisition, neurolinguistics, and bilingual education. A global advocate of reading and the importance of the role of reading in language acquisition, his publications have received numerous awards, including the Mildenberger Award (Modern Language Association) and the Pimsleur Award (American Council of Foreign Language Teaching). In 2005, Krashen was added to the International Reading Association's Reading Hall of Fame. He is the 1977 Incline Bench Press Champion of Venice Beach and currently trains at Gold's Gym.

Sy-Ying Lee is currently professor at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology and chair of the Department of Applied Foreign Languages. Her research interests include issues related to second language and literacy acquisition, extensive reading, reader-text interaction, and blogging. She has published numerous professional papers in national and international scholarly journals and one monograph, and has made more than 50 presentations in professional conferences throughout the world and more than 30 workshops for preservice and inservice teachers. Lee has received the Outstanding Specialty Award given by the Taiwan Ministry of Science & Technology and has received the Teaching Excellence Award from National Taipei University. She holds a doctorate in language and literacy from the University of Southern California School of Education.

Christy Lao, PhD, is a professor of education, founding director of the Confucius Institute at San Francisco State University, coordinator of the Chinese Bilingual Program, and principal investigator and director of several major federal projects. She initiated, negotiated, and established the first Confucius Institute on the West Coast in 2005. Lao also teaches in the Chinese Bilingual Teacher Education Program and has published widely with a focus on Chinese language learners. Her research interests are in the areas of second language acquisition, bilingual education, Chinese language teaching pedagogy, reading and biliteracy development. Previously, she was a faculty member at Teachers College, Columbia University, and at Hong Kong Baptist University. For the past 25 years, she has worked with Chinese bilingual schools and teachers in San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong, and China.


"Summarizing decades of research about language development, this thorough title will guide understanding of reading comprehension in a new way. . . . Librarians will appreciate the socioeconomic reading statistics and discussion of how libraries instill in children a love of reading that leads to higher reading scores. Rounding out the volume are an excellent list of references and an easy-to-follow index to help navigate each study. VERDICT For school librarians working with elementary age students."—School Library Journal, April 1, 2018

"This is a scholarly look at a subject that many teachers and librarians grapple with. It is an important addition to the research into creating lifelong learners and readers."—Booklist Online, April 5, 2018

"Do you need researched-based evidence to support the importance of independent reading? Then this research-heavy resource would be perfect for you. The authors present a thoroughly researched case that literacy comprehension and acquisition increases the most when what we hear and what we read is interesting or 'compelling.' . . . Overall, this book is full of research summaries."—School Library Connection, May 1, 2018
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.