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
http://tinyurl.com/ll3d36s
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 www.sdkrashen.com, 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. 
http://www.aecf.org/m/databook/2017KCDB_FINAL_embargoed.pdf

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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01616846.2017.1316149

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.
http://www.scholastic.com/teacherprincipalreport/literacy.htm

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Wing Institute

The Wing Institute (http://www.winginstitute.org) is an online clearinghouse to facilitate collecting, organizing and analyzing K-12 educational best practices. It includes research summaries and links on various educational factors that result in student success.

Monday, April 10, 2017

State of America's Libraries

The State of America's Libraries 2017 features news and commentary on:
  • The Top Ten Most Challenged Books in 2016
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion in libraries
  • Children's and teen services
  • Public libraries taking action
  • New responsibilities for academic libraries
  • Resources to combat fake news
  • Calls to action in support of libraries 
Rosa, K. (Ed.). (2017). The State of America's Libraries 2017. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Literacy Efforts Analysis

UNESCO's new publication takes stock of youth and adult literacy interventions which have been implemented since 1966, when UNESCO held its first International Literacy Day. It sheds light on the literacy-related challenges the world is now facing, as it embarks on the implementation of the2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The publication begins with an analysis of trends in literacy rates at the regional and global levels, and identifies fifty countries that have made notable progress. It then reflects on emerging conceptions of literacy, from ‘literacy as a stand-alone skill' to 'functional literacy’ for work and livelihood, to 'literacy for empowerment’ of poor and marginalized populations and finally to 'literacy as social practice’, shaped by the cultural context in which it is applied. These four conceptions are illustrated by a wide range of literacy campaigns, programs and policies, implemented within the fifty selected countries. Finally, the publication envisages the possible future of literacy from the perspective of sustainable development, lifelong learning and digital societies, with a focus on the need for urgency of action.
UNESCO. (2017). Reading the past, writing the future: Fifty years of promoting literacy. Paris, France: UNESCO.
http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002475/247563e.pdf