Sunday, August 29, 2021

Australian teen reading attitudes survey

 The following infographic summarizes an survey of 15 year old Australians.

Underwood, C. (2021). Snapshots, April 2021: What do Australian 15 year olds think about reading? ACER.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Graded readers are becoming real literature

 Graded readers are becoming real literature

Stephen Krashen, August, 2021 


I have been in quarantine for the last year, and I am reluctant to give it up. I have been exercising, practicing the piano, doing research, and …. reading. I have been trying to improve my Spanish by reading lots of easy texts, graded readers, following the advice of Beniko Mason. (I have read “authentic” Spanish, but it has been a struggle.)  And I think it is working. 


I have discovered that graded readers in Spanish have improved in quality in recent years. They have graduated from “simple stories for students” to real literature.  Until recently, I had two favorite authors writing in this genre: Bill VanPatten (e.g Angel) and Adriana Ramirez (e.g. Me Perdi en Medallin, Rigo).  I just added a third: Kristy Placido. I just finished reading her book, Testigo, La Historia de Brayan. Not just interesting, but compelling, and it gets more and more compelling as you read. And I just ordered another Placido title. 


Middle schoolers and praise study

 Middle-school students respond more to praise than criticism, especially when it comes to curbing problem behaviors, a study found. By making a point of praising desired behaviors at least as much as reprimanding undesirable behaviors, teachers improved overall class conduct by up to 70%, researchers noted.

Caldarella, P. , Larsen, R., & Williams, L. (2021). Effects of middle school teachers' praise-to-reprimand ratios on students' classroom behavior. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Administrators and school librarians study

 A recent study explores how school district leaders can foster the development of effective school libraries in which school librarians serve as instructional leaders of multiple literacies. "Results revealed two main barriers that inhibit the development of an effective school library: a) ambiguous administrative expectations for school librarians, and b) school librarians’ limited participation in the K–12 instructional program. Conversely, results demonstrated that positive relationships serve as significant supports for enabling school librarians to function as instructional leaders of multiple literacies."

Lewis, M. (2021). Enabling School Librarians to Serve as Instructional Leaders of Multiple Literacies. School Library Research, 24.

Pandemic and literacy study

 Experts say the pandemic may be interfering with young learners' ability to acquire reading skills, especially those who spend time at home doing other things instead of reading.  An analysis of data found that second- and third-grade students' reading fluency fell approximately 30% from 2019 to 2020. The pandemic also deepened inequities. 

Domingue, B. et al. (2021). Changing patterns of growth in oral reading fluency during the COVID-10 pandemic. PACE.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Pandemic Impact on Education

 COVID-19 has led to unprecedented challenges in the field of education, and now, even with a return to normalcy seemingly on the horizon, uncertainties remain. Over 600 educators were surveyed in an effort to gauge and further understand the current realities of teaching through a pandemic. The insights gained may help educational leaders strategize and plan for the coming year and beyond, as they search to find the best path forward in supporting staff and students.

Some of the findings are:

  • 90% of teachers and staff need to wear PPE.
  • 39% of teachers will teach F2F with no remote option.
  • About 70% teachers used Zoom.
  • In 42% of schools, devices are usually shared. 

Survey Says. (2020). Tech & Learning.


A recent survey conducted during the coronavirus pandemic finds that students cite depression, stress and anxiety as key barriers to learning. The survey also revealed a decline in access to trusted adults among students, with just 39% saying they have a connection to a supportive adult at school.

Learning & well-being during COVID-19(2021). YouthTruth.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

What about accent?


Stephen Krashen & Nooshan Ashtari


1.     Assumption -  accent improvement by hard work and study, conscious learning (Hammond: 51% agree that hard working and intelligent people can always succeed in eliminating foreign accent).

a.     The research: conditions difficult to meet

1.     Know the rule: e.g. comb, combing, combination – what’s the rule?

2.     Focus on form

3.     Time to retrieve & apply the rule

b.    Little research on effect of instruction for “spontaneous conversation” – 

c.     Most effective for “monitored production of specific features (Saito and Plonsky). No clear evidence it works in real conversation

d.    (Some) evidence for improvement without instruction: weak effect 

2.     The club membership hypothesis – instruction,  amount of exposure not the crucial factors

Sub - hypothesis 1: Accent marks belonging to a group

Sub – hypothesis 2: Accent acquired rapidly and well for all ages. LAD never shut off

Sub – hypothesis 3: We do not perform in all the accents we have acquired, because we don’t feel like full members of the group.

Fisher, 1958: typical boys: model boys

Typical: dominating, mischief, more aggressive: short form (goin’, comin’)

Model: thoughtful, considerate: full form (going, coming) 

Typical: shorter form 55% of the time

Model: shorter form: 3% of the time

CAN the model boys use the short form?  (YES, sub-hypothesis 2). 

Do they? (N0, sub-hypothesis 3)

3.     The OUTPUT filter – prevents us from using what we have acquired. (Discomfort)

4.     Examples

a.     1965: A conversation with Gerald Mosback in Addis Ababa. (filter down)

b.    My French falls apart: Univ. of Ottawa (filter up)

c.     I impress my daughter with my French in a Paris coffee shop. (filter down)

5.     Can classes help? Even if class improved accent? The problem lies elsewhere

a.     Rubin: evaluation of ACCENT-FREE English, picture 1 = “typical American looking”. Picture 2, not. Subjects thought picture 2 had an accent! Judgement based on picture, not the accent

b.    Ashtari (2020): Who is the native speaker? Non-NS with American accent selected over native speaker of Indian English. Effect on hiring? 

c.     How this impacts language acquirers.

Ashtari (2014): intermediate, advanced university ESL students: when talking to native speakers, what they say is grammatically correct but NS say they don’t understand, ask them to repeat. 

1)    Less willingness to talk to NS

2)    Prefer other speakers of ESL

d.    Is it their accent?

1)    Probably not. (personal experience)

2)    Problem in mind of native speakers

e.     Are there pedagogical implications of these hypotheses? Help people drop the output filter? Possible for actors (method acting?), occasionally for jokes, to solidify relationships. 

Otherwise: Painful, awkward. (Experience on a train in London.)


Talking to a potential client: Why SK didn’t get the job.

Talking to a civilian on the phone who has experienced this. 

-       P., born in UK, in US for several decades, NO British accent

-       Understood our ability to drop output filter under certain conditions, eg with family 

-       We have a spectrum of accents inside us, but we either consciously or subconsciously decide which one we use based on our environment and people we interact with and how they react to us… 


The LAD never shuts off. 





Ashtari, N. (2014). Non-native speech and feedback: The relationship between non-native speakers’ production and    native speakers’ reaction. The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 9(2), 9-17. (

Fisher, J. 1958. Social Influences on the Choice of a Linguistic Variant. Word 14: 47-56.



Wednesday, July 28, 2021

School librarian decline study

      A recent report highlights an ongoing decline in the number of districts nationwide with school librarians. According to the findings, there were about 20% fewer librarians during the 2018–2019 school year in the 13,000 districts examined than a decade prior. But the absence of these educators isn’t equally distributed: Smaller, rural districts, and those with higher proportions of English-language learners, Latinx students, and low-income students were more likely to lack a librarian.

     Debra E. Kachel and Keith Curry Lance write: “Most of us know there have been large losses of school librarians over the past two decades. What is less well known—and begs for attention—is that these losses pose a major educational equity issue. In our new study, we found that everyone isn’t losing their librarians; losses tend to occur in districts where there are more students living in poverty, more minority students, and more English-language learners. Districts with fewer such students are far more likely to have and maintain librarians. The other news is that, since 2015–2016, several states have begun to see net increases in their numbers of school librarians.”

School Librarian Investigation: Decline or Evolution? (2021). Seattle: Antioch University.

Public library expenditures and reading scores research

 A study of US public libraries found that library capital investments increases children's attendance at library events 18%, their checkouts by 21%, and visits by 21%. It translated into improve test scores in nearby school districts. A $1000+ per-student capital investment in local public libraries increased reading test scores the .02 standard deviations (not significant for math scores. 

Gilpin, G., Karger, E., & Nencka, F. (2021). The returns to public library investment. Federal Reserach Bank of Chicago.

What matters in reading instruction.... by Susan Ohanian

Published in the Los Angeles Times July 28, 2021.


Reaction to: Op-Ed by Jeremy Adams: The rise of the Zoombies: Lifeless, detached students have returned to my classroom (

“… This fall it will likely become obvious that the calculus student who halfheartedly learned pre-calculus behind an anonymous screen for an entire year won’t be able to soar. Nor will the second-grader who’s asked to read passages when vowels weren’t mastered in first grade.”


Response by Susan Ohanian, published in LA Times, 7/28/21 

I share many of the concerns expressed by Adams, but the absence of vowel instruction definitely isn't one of them.Young children in my classes demonstrated that what literacy experts said was true: Phonics instruction plays a very small role in reading comprehension. What matters is reading aloud to children — a lot — and surrounding children with many books that they want to read. People who worry about those children who arrive in second grade without phonics instruction should know that in Finland, reading instruction doesn’t even begin until age 7 or 8. The Finns, whose children score at the top of international tests, are much more concerned that children have lots of time to play together.

Susan Ohanian, Charlotte, Vt.



Saturday, July 24, 2021

Decline in School Librarians study

 Communication from Stephen Krashen <>: Jul 24 02:12PM -0700

Studies have shown that the presence of a credentialed school librarian results in better reading & writing (e.g. Kachel and Lance, 2013). But according to a recently released report (the SLIDE report; **Lance and Kachel, 2021)**, the number of school librarians fell 20% during the last ten years. In 2009-10, there were 939 students per school librarian, but by 2018-19, it had increased to 1,199 to 1.*

*The usual explanation was that the decrease in school librarians was because of budget, but the SLIDE report **found “no clear relationship between staffing and funding. **Of great interest: ** Nationwide, the number of school administrators increased during this time (**Instructional
Coordinators, by almost 34%; District Administrators, more than 16%, School Administrators, more than 15%.)*
*Most disturbing: **Librarians are less likely to be found in smaller, rural, and poorly funded districts that serve more students in poverty, that serve mostly non-white and Hispanic students, and English Language acquirers. In other words, everybody’s not losing their librarians—mostly
those who depend on libraries the most. *
*Impact of school librarian:
*The SLIDE report: Lance, K. C., & Kachel, D. E. (2021, July). Perspectives on school librarian employment in the United States, 2009-10 to 2018-19. SLIDE: The School Librarian Investigation—Decline or Evolution? *

Friday, July 23, 2021

Reading on and offline research

 "This meta-analysis examines the inconsistent findings across experimental studies that compared children’s learning outcomes with digital and paper books. We quantitatively reviewed 39 studies reported in 30 articles (n = 1,812 children) and compared children’s story comprehension and vocabulary learning in relation to medium (reading on paper versus on-screen), design enhancements in digital books, the presence of a dictionary, and adult support for children aged between 1 and 8 years. The comparison of digital versus paper books that only differed by digitization showed lower comprehension scores for digital books. Adults’ mediation during print books’ reading was more effective than the enhancements in digital books read by children independently. However, with story-congruent enhancements, digital books outperformed paper books. An embedded dictionary had no or negative effect on children’s story comprehension but positively affected children’s vocabulary learning." The researchers also noted that Researchers also found that most of the commercially published e-books explored in the studies didn’t enhance the text in ways that focused children’s attention as adults naturally would when reading a story to a child, such as pointing out main story elements, asking questions, and focusing children’s attention on the chain of events in a story. 


Furenes, M., Kucirkova, N., & Bus, A. (2021). A comparison of children's reading on paper versus screen: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 91(4).

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Mentorship research

New research examines school librarians’ perceptions of the Continuum of Care model for assessment of need, program theory, program process, impact, and efficiency. Researcher Rita Reinsel Soulen extends her prior research with an analysis of practices that enable school librarians to develop mentoring skills, which lead to more opportunities for collaboration with other educators. Her study finds that actions taken by the school librarian may promote new teachers’ resilience, leading to better-defined best practice by school librarians helping new teachers. 

Soulen, R. (2021). Enabling Collaboration through Mentorship: Examining the Role of the School Librarian. School Library Research, 24

Library Instruction and teaching experience research

 New research examines the relationship between years of traditional classroom teaching experience and teaching in school library instructional environments. A longstanding shortage of certified school librarians in Maryland inspired David E. Robinson and Scot W. McNary to examine the preparation of school librarians with varying levels of prior teaching experience. Their primary research question was: in the role of teacher, what is the relationship between years of teaching experience and school librarian candidates’ effectiveness in planning, implementing, and reflecting on school library-based instruction.

Robinson, D., &  McNary, S.  (2021). School library instruction: Does teaching matter? School Library Research

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

We're All Ears


Ears are one of animals’ most important organ – and they come in different sizes and shapes. ‘Ears hoping you will perk up your ears with these online activities.









Are you hearing a call for an ear-related career? You could become an ear doctor (audiologist), veterinarian – as well as a sign interpreter, sound engineer, musician, jewelry maker, or even ear piercer


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Teacher librarians and social media learning networks study

New research examines activities, motives, and barriers associated with social media learning. Results of an online questionnaire recorded perspectives on personalized learning networks. Results were categorized by media type (self-published content, curated content, microblogs, discussion forums, and social networks) and by user role (Passerby, Lurker, Networker, Content Creator, and Community Leader).

Cates, M. (2021). Social Media to Survive and Thrive: School Librarians Describe Online Professional Learning. School Library Research.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Teacher librarians' activities during COVID-19 report

 The American Association of School Librarians released its final survey in a series of snapshot surveys measuring the state of school libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Responses to the latest survey indicate that a majority of school librarians have seen an increase in responsibilities during the 2020–2021 school year, with 75% of respondents reporting they are doing more technology troubleshooting and nearly 86% reporting they are doing more ebook promotion in their districts.

AASL. (2021). Final school library snapshot survey results. KnowledgeQuest.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Post-COVID action for public education report

The International Commission on Education Futures developed nine ideas for public action, knowing that the pandemic will forever transform education. These ideas for action are the commission’s attempt to actively shape the future of education and help strengthen and enhance its power for all students, including those in developing nations.

  • Commit to strengthen education as a common good.
  • Value the teaching profession and teacher collaboration. 
  • Promote youth participation and rights.
  • Address the importance of connectivity and access to knowledge and information.
  • Make free and open-source technologies available to teachers and students. 
  • Ensure scientific literacy within the curriculum.
  • Protect domestic and international financing of public education.
  • Advance global solidarity to end current levels of inequality.
  • Protect school's social spaces.

Education in a post-COVID world. (2021). UNESCO.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Student device quality research

   Broadband access and speed aren’t the only technological concerns for students engaged in remote and hybrid learning. The quality of the student device itself also plays a key role, according to a new study, specifically,the age of the device and device specifications. Researchers looked at data from students using the same internet service provider and noted that throughput was actually lower in the case of students who had inferior devices even though they were on the same network.
   According to the report: “… [U]pload and download speeds during online classes/meetings can vary significantly by the age, type, and quality of device used. Students that were provided with older and less powerful equipment had an inferior experience than students with newer devices. Students that received newer devices with limited specifications (e.g., memory and processor) also had more challenges than students that were provided with devices with better specifications.”
   Some of the factors that impact the quality of the learning experience include, according to the report (all bullets quoted verbatim from the report):
  • Type and speed of processor
  • Amount of memory
  • Central Processing Unit (CPU) utilization
  • Number of applications running at one time
  • Quality of WiFi antenna and signal strength received
  • WiFi standard used and access frequency
   Beyond replacing devices or purchasing upgrades, there are steps IT departments can take to improve device performance, such as whitelisting the sites and services that deliver students’ at-home learning materials and online class sessions so that performance isn’t hindered by a network filtering product. The report also noted that data analytics are critical for assessing student device performance. 

Digital equity initiative. (2021) Student home internet connectivity study. CoSN.

Monday, May 3, 2021

AASL studies

 AASL’s final snapshot survey results found changes have occurred over the past year that will impact school librarian practice for years to come. Respondents noted that their role in their school district or building increased during the current school year. When asked how their practices have changed, technology troubleshooting, e-book promotion, virtual professional development, and step-by-step instructional material for use of online tools and databases received the most “doing more” responses.

AASL. (2021). Final school library snapshot survey results. Knowledge Quest


New research published in AASL’s peer-reviewed online journal, School Library Research (SLR), explores three topics. SLR articles can be accessed for free at

1) Kammer et al. examined successfully completed collaborative projects at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Each project used integrated instruction or curriculum and were analyzed within the context of “what strategies make collaboration successful? 

2) Burns and Dawkins explored the alignment of the Standards Framework for School Librarians from AASL’s National School Library Standards with the ALA/AASL/CAEP Preparation Standards. The research team’s goal was to identify overlap between expectations school librarians are presented with during their preparation for practice and the Competencies they are asked to demonstrate in practice.

3) Thpmpson et al. examined the difference in school librarians’ teacher self-efficacy among those who worked in elementary, middle, and high schools. The research team attempted to determine if elementary school librarians’ self-efficacy could be a predictor of reading scores for the schools’ overall average rates on the Virginia Standards of Learning assessment.