Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lolndon study on pleasure reading

A study  carried out by the Centre for Logditudinal Studies, at the Institute of Education (one of the colleges of the University of London) supplies evidence that children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers.  Strong reading ability affected children's scores in math, vocabulary and spelling. Here is the link to the press release - it specifically mentions the importance of the library:  
Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16: The role of reading’, by Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown. CLS Working Paper 2013/10 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Youth technology use study

A new study examines how US tweens and teens are using technology in schools, and how they feel about those experiences. Although 78 percent of students own cell phones—47 percent of which are smartphones—students still face a wide variety of policies restricting mobile usage in schools, which students report as frustrating. Students also express frustration with schools’ limited WiFi access, problems with Internet filtering, privacy concerns as more and more schools aim to monitor students’ online activity, and some schools’ push to embrace tablet computers.
Cortesi, S. et al. (2014). Youth Perspectives on Tech in Schools: From Mobile Devices to Restrictions and Monitoring. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Children's reading habits studies

According to a new study, 67% of US children aged 2–13 are now reading ebooks. That’s up from 54%, the number recorded in a similar study from 2013. Some 92% of the kids who do read ebooks read them at least once a week, with many of them reading ebooks every day.

Despite tight budgets that have compounded the numerous challenges to implementation, media specialists are ‘generally enthusiastic about the continued adoption of ebooks by their students, and usage in school libraries—especially at the high school level—is expected to continue rising incrementally, according to an annual survey, the fourth of its kind.
Bryant, A. (2014).What a Difference a Year Makes: Kids and E-Reading Trends 2012-13. Digital Book World.

The ABCs ofkids and ebooks. (2014).Digital Book World.

2013 Survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. School (K–12) Libraries. (2014).  School Library Journal.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Quality Counts 2014 report

The18th annual edition of Quality Counts rates states and the nation on key student-performance
and finance indicators. The K-12 Achievement Index assesses state performance against a broad set of 18 separate indicators or criteria, including results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, high school graduation rates, and scores on Advanced Placement exams. Unlike more-limited score cards on student achievement, the index analyzes results across three crucial dimensions: current state performance, improvements over time, and equity as measured by poverty-based achievement gaps. Findings point out the negative impact of poverty.
EQuality counts. (2014, January 9). Education Week.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

As part of the year-long National Forum on Libraries and Teens effort, YALSA has released a report providing direction on how libraries need to adapt and change to meet the needs of 21st century teens.
 YALSA. (2014). The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action. Chicago: ALA.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Research on overpraising

Researchers have found that contrary to what some might think, students with low self-esteem can suffer further if they are overpraised. According to the University of Southampton study, praise became "overpraise" when there was an additional word, such as an adverb. For example,"you're good at this" was simple praise, while "you're incredibly good at this" was considered inflated praise. The findings suggested inflated praise could put too much pressure on those with low esteem. 
Brummelman, E., Thomaes, S., Orobio de Castro, B., Overbeek, G., & Bushman, B. J. (in press). “That’s not just beautiful—that’s incredibly beautiful!” The adverse impact of inflated praise on children with low self-esteem. Psychological Science

Report on perceptions of public libraries

A national report finds most Americans feel that public libraries have done a good job embracing new technology, but are split on whether libraries are as essential as they were in the past for finding information. In a larger sense, Americans strongly value the role of public libraries in their communities. Many library resources are particularly valued by those who are unemployed, retired, or searching for a job, as well as those living with a disability and Internet users who lack home Internet access.
Zickhur, K., Rainie, L., Purcell, K., & Duggan, M. (2013). How Americans value public libraries in their communities. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.

Research on video game benefits

A recent study summarizes a decade of video games research. The article shows first-person shooters improve three-dimensional thinking, a predictor of career success in STEM fields; people who play more video games report better problem solving abilities; video game playing is correlated with creativity and persistence in problem solving; and adolescents who play games with civic dimensions are more likely to be engaged in civic activity in their everyday lives.
Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R.. (2013). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 1-13. DOI: 10.1037/a0034857
A 2013 report finds that most states’ college- and career-readiness accountability systems have focused on getting students to a minimum level of proficiency. The report finds that a coherent college- and career-readiness accountability strategy "centers on the need for states to make ambitious but achievable progress in student performance at a much higher level than minimum proficiency." It recommends states incorporate indicators that measure students’ college and career readiness and use them in multiple ways to orient the system toward postsecondary success.
Achieve. (2013). Closing the expectations gap.

Common Core and principals survey

A majority of  the 1000 principals surveyed in 14 states said implementation of the Common Core State Standards is a top priority. However, a significant number of those surveyed said they need to upgrade curricula and technology.
National Association of Elementary School Principals. (2014). Leadership for the Common Core.

International student assessment comparison report

Fifteen-year-old students in the U.S. are lagging behind their international counterparts in math and science, according to results of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment. “Our scores are stagnant. We’re not seeing any improvement for our 15-year-olds,” said Jack Buckley, commissioner at the National Center for Education Statistics. American students scored average in reading and science and below average in math. While U.S. teenagers were average in reading and science, their scores were below average in math, compared to 64 other countries and economies that participated in PISA.
OECD. (2014). Results of the 2012 PISA data collection.

School library studies

A recent study examined high school librarians’ views on district policies that limit the use of social media tools. was determined that the way the school district presented its policies could affect how school librarians perceived and applied them. As the school district unintentionally shifted from formal to informal to implied policy documentation, this study found that the school librarians’ perceptions and applications of the policies varied substantially.
DiScala, J., & Weeks, A. (2013).  Access Denied: School Librarians’ Responses to School District Policies on the Use of Social Media Tools. School Library Research, 16.

Another study investigated the influence of school librarians’ staffing levels on student learning of research skills, focusing on high-poverty rural Iowa schools. A positive relationship was found between student achievement (e.g., higher critical literacy skills and higher scores in ethical use of information).
Krueger, K., & Donham, J. (2013).  Professional Staffing Levels and Fourth-Grade Student Research in Rural Schools with High-Poverty Levels. School Library Research, 16.

Reading benefits research

Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies. Yet little research has investigated what fosters this skill, which is known as Theory of Mind (ToM), in adults. The researchers conducted five experiments showing that reading literary fiction led to better performance on tests of affective ToM (experiments 1 to 5) and cognitive ToM (experiments 4 and 5) compared with reading nonfiction (experiments 1), popular fiction (experiments 2 to 5), or nothing at all (experiments 2 and 5). Specifically, these results show that reading literary fiction temporarily enhances ToM. More broadly, they suggest that ToM may be influenced by engagement with works of art.
Kidd, D., & Castano, E. (2013). Reading literary fiction improves theory of mind. Science 18 October 2013:
Vol. 342 no. 6156 pp. 377-380

There is also an interesting Press Release about this research from the New School in New York City:

The article and the press release both refer to ToM Theory of Mind.  Here is a brief description of what this term actually means: 

Another older piece of research:
Bookworms versus nerds: Exposure to fiction versus non-fiction, divergent associations with social ability, and the simulation of fictional social worlds.  Authors:  Raymond A. Mar Keith OatleyJacob HirshJennifer dela PazJordan B. Peterson. published by the University of Toronto in 2006.