Thursday, October 19, 2017

Study on truth and misinformation

A survey of leading technologists and social scientists about their outlook on the future of online information. Experts are evenly split on whether the coming decade will see a reduction in false and misleading narratives online. Those forecasting improvement place their hopes in technological fixes and in societal solutions. Others think the dark side of human nature is aided more than stifled by technology. Five themes emerged:
  • The information environment will not improve: The problem is human nature.
  • The information environment will not improve because technology will create new challenges that can’t or won’t be countered effectively and at scale.
  • The information environment will improve because technology will help label, filter or ban misinformation and thus upgrade the public’s ability to judge the quality and veracity of content.
  • The information environment will improve, because people will adjust and make things better.
  • Tech can’t win the battle. The public must fund and support the production of objective, accurate information. It must also elevate information literacy to be a primary goal of education

Anderson, J., & Rainie, L. (2017). The future of truth and misinformation online. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.

Children's media use report

A sampling survey found that 95% of households with children age 8 and younger had a cell phone, and other electronic devices were also common. These children tend to spend more than two hours daily with media. The digital divide has lessened. The amount of reading has remained steady, but many parents to not read to their children age 2 and younger. These an other findings point out the need for media literacy.
Common Sense. (2017). The Common Sense survey: Media use by kids age zero to eight. San Francisco, CA: Common Sense.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Avid readers research

Understanding how social influences can foster avid book reader identification is a key research goal that warrants further investigation beyond a limited early years lens. The author’s international study explored the influence positive social agents can have on avid book readers. Early influences were examined, with data suggesting that maternal instruction is the most prevalent source of early reading teaching. Indirect avid reader influence, author influence, fostering access, shared social habit, reading for approval, recommendations and supporting choice, and exposure to reading aloud were recurring mechanisms of influence. The multiple mechanisms of influence identified constitute opportunities for engagement and subsequent intervention by literacy advocates, including librarians.
Merga, M. (2017). Becoming a reader: Significant social influences on avid book readers. School Library Research, 20.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Reading research

The power of reading, the power of libraries and the "summer slide"
Letter published in Language Magazine, May, 2017
Stephen Krashen
Language Magazine readers might be interested in a case study that confirms Andrew Johnson's recommendations for dealing with the summer slide in reading  ("Tales of summer," April, 2017).  In a published journal paper, we (Shu-Yuan Lin, Fay Shin, and S. Krashen) described the case of "Sophia," a high school student whose reading test scores dropped during three consecutive academic years, but increased during the summer. In fact, Sophia's fall reading scores were higher than they were the previous spring. What did Sophia do during the summer that caused this improvement? She did not attend special classes, did not get instruction in reading strategies, did not work through vocabulary lists, and did not write book reports. All she did was read for pleasure. According to her mother, Sophia read an average of about 50 books per summer, largely from the local public library. Early favorites were the Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High series, followed by the Christy Miller series and other books by Francine Pascal, the author of the Sweet Valley series. (Sophia informed us that she was “addicted” to the Christy Miller books; it took her only a week to read the entire series “because I just couldn’t put them down.”)
Sophia’s mother told us that during the school year Sophia was so busy with school work that she had hardly any free time to read. Her mother, in fact, joked that it might be a good idea to keep her daughter at home during the school year in order to increase her scores on standardized tests of reading.
Lin, S-Y, Shin, F., & Krashen, S.  2007. Sophia’s choice: Summer reading. Knowledge Quest 35(4). Available for free download at, under "free voluntary reading."

Kids Count report

While the percentage of American children living in poverty fell in 2015, many continue to live in high-poverty areas and gains in children's well-being could be lost without continued investment, an annual report from the Annie. E. Casey Foundation finds. The report, which measured child well-being in four areas — economic well-being, education, health, and family and community — found minimal gains in indicators of academic achievement. Although rates of high school completion and fourth-grade reading proficiency improved from 2010 to 2015, the percentage of children not attending pre-K classes has remained largely unchanged since 2009, while the eighth-grade math proficiency rate has gotten slightly worse. The report found progress in a number of health indicators, including the uninsured rate for children, which fell from 8 percent in 2010 to 5 percent in 2015; the share of teens who abuse alcohol or drugs, which fell  from 7 percent to 5 percent; and child and teen deaths, which was down from 26 per 100,000 to 25 per 100,000. The report also notes that racial disparities in child well-being persist.
Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2017). Kids Count. Baltimore, MD: A. E. Casey Foundation.

Friday, May 19, 2017

YAs use of ebooks study

An online survey distributed to librarians at public libraries across North America established some interesting trends in public librarians’ perceptions of ebooks and teens. Some of the findings of this study are that teen library users strongly prefer to read print books for their recreational reading and show very little interest in ebooks or ebook programs offered by public libraries.Even when public librarians offer ebook programs for teens through school outreach, these programs tend to focus on the titles in the collection and the download process, rather than the specific benefits of ebook reading. More active promotion of these advantages could potentially appeal to teens, especially to non-library users and reluctant readers.
Gray, R., & Howard, V. (2017). Young adult use of ebooks: An analysis of public library services and resources. Public Library Quarterly, 1-4.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

School Attitudes about Independent Reading Report

Nearly all teachers and principals believe students should have time for independent reading at school, yet only about a third of teachers set aside time each day for this, according to a recent survey. When independent reading occurs, students spend an average of 22 minutes on it.
Asked about the primary barrier to independent reading time, 9 out of 10 teachers cited "demands of the curriculum." Other findings include:
  • About 1 in 10 teachers have no books in their classroom or personal libraries for students to read. About a third of teachers have fewer than 50 books. And 14 percent have more than 500 books.
  • Many teachers update their classroom libraries infrequently. About a quarter do it every couple of years and 13 percent never do it. 
  • Teachers who do in-class independent reading were asked about its benefits. About 40 percent said "students' skills have increased/ students are achieving more.' A quarter said "students learn to love reading."
  • Nearly 4 in 10 principals said they do not have a full-time school librarian, yet 8 in 10 said a librarian is a critical resource for schools.
  • About half of principals and librarians say they need more culturally relevant books, books in other languages, ebooks, books with diverse characters, and high-interest, low-level books.
  • Nearly 30 percent of principals and librarians said they're able to add new titles to their library "once a year or less." About 20 percent add books at least monthly.
Scholastic. (2017). Teacher & Principal School Report: Focus on Literacy. New York: Scholastic.