Thursday, January 7, 2010

Take Your Pick: Jailing Teachers or Supporting School Libraries

Source: Lucerne Elementary School Library website

Link to December 16 special letter to the Detroit News, "Libraries hold key to Detroit progress". (via LISNews)

Detroit is looking in all the wrong places to explain its low reading scores and is ignoring the most obvious ("Detroit parents want DPS teachers, officials jailed over low test scores," Dec. 13). Jailing teachers, new reading initiatives and volunteer tutors are not the answer. The answer is improved school libraries staffed by certified librarians.

Study after study has confirmed the common-sense idea that reading itself is the best way to develop reading ability: Children who read more do better on all tests of literacy, including the fourth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test, the test Detroit children did so poorly on.

But to read, children need access to books. For children of low-income families, the only source is the school library. Research done by me, as well as Jeff McQuillan, has confirmed that access to books is strongly related to performance on the NAEP exam for fourth-graders, even when we control for the effects of poverty.

Letter written byStephen Krashen , Professor Emeritus, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

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