Wednesday, July 27, 2022




This is a response to Bethlam Forsa, “A Love to ‘Read by Three’ Is The Answer to Success.” (

Published in the Newsweek Expert Forum, an “invitation-only network of influential leaders, experts, executives and entrepeneurs.” (This response was not invited.) Forsa cannot be reached by email or telephone. She is the president of Savvas, formerly Pearson K12.


It is widely believed that failure at grade 3 predicts school failure later on in school (Forsa, “A love to read by three,” 7/25/22).

If true, we should study what factors predict success by the end of grade 3.

In Lao, Lee, McQuillan and Krashen (2021), we summarized the results of three studies of ten -year old children on a test of reading comprehension, the PIRLS test, 10 year olds in 45 countries in 2006, in 57 countries in 2011 and in 61 countries in 2016. 

The number of children tested ranged from 3349 to 18,245 and was administered in the national language of the country.


In agreement with Forsa’s recommendation, the best predictor was access to reading material, represented here as the presence of a school library). High levels of poverty meant lower levels of reading competence, as did the amount of reading instruction in school and whether children had developed some reading competence before starting school. 

The clear winner: access to books. There was the most popular recommendation among the public, direct instruction in reading, was not a strong predictor. There is plenty of support for this predictor from other studies, see especially the work of Keith Curry Lance. and S. Krashen (2004).


Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited.

Lao, C., Lee, S-Y., McQuillan, J., and Krashen, S. 2021. Predicting reading ability among ten-year olds: Poverty (negative), school libraries (positive), instruction (zero), early literacy (zero). Language Magazine 20,10: 20-21.


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Print resources and reading study

 Teenagers who say they most often read paper books scored higher on reading tests than their peers who rarely or never read, according to a study of students in about 30 countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Findings showed that students who read physical books also outpaced students who read digital books. 

OECD. (2022). Does the digital world open up an increasing divide in access to print books? (2022). OECD.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Urban Library Trauma Study

 A two year long study  difficult working conditions urban library workers experienced pre-pandemic and the increasing demands and disruptions because of the pandemic, resulting in extensive trauma, stress, and burnout for urban library workers. The study included four stages including a comprehensive review of current literature on the topic, a survey of urban library workers, a series of virtual focus groups, and a forum of urban library workers to go over the research and create plans for the future. Trauma  largely started externally but impacted library interaction.  The report also noted secondary trauma experiences and how regular interaction with patrons who are struggling with homelessness, poverty, mental illness, or addiction has a profound affect on library workers who are often not trained or have the resources or support for this work. The report encourages more recognition of how secondary stress leads to burnout and recommends that libraries look to the fields of social work and medicine for concrete solutions to support library workers. The report made the following recommendations:

  1. A National Library Worker Help Line where library workers can call for immediate support during mental health crises and burnout.
  2. A set of standards for healthy library work environments built by a coalition of worker-led library organizations. 
  3. A collection of policies and procedures written from the perspective of trauma-informed leadership. 
  4.  A series of peer-led support groups made up of library workers which allow workers at all levels to offer and receive support from colleagues at other institutions who can empathize and understand the unique challenges associated with library work.
Urban Librarians Unite. (2022). 2022 Urban library trauma study. Author.

Friday, July 1, 2022

1:1 Laptop Impact Study

A study of 53 high school teachers who taught at a school with a one-to-one laptop program found that one-to-one devices are essential to lessen the impact of the digital divide but distribution should be well planned with adequate stakeholder preparation. Leaders need to understand other stakeholders, such as teachers, are in Rogers’s five adopter categories. The findings indicate a positive association between participants’ self-perception levels of technology adoption and their belief that students’ academic performance improved with the use of laptops.  Furthermore, school librarians, assuming the role of an Innovator as defined by Rogers, can establish themselves as invaluable resources that can bridge the gap between administrators’ expectations and teachers’ utilization of technology in the classroom.

Smith, D. et al. (2022). Teacher Perceptions of One-to-One Laptop Implementation: Suggestions for the Role of School Librarians. School Library Research, 25.