[kids-lib] In the news: Education Report Card, flat reading scores

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Wed Nov 2 09:53:37 PDT 2011

Hi!  This morning I read the article ‘Education report card: Flat reading scores are deeply disappointing<http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/1101/Education-report-card-Flat-reading-scores-are-deeply-disappointing>’ and it’s worth reading.  If you don’t have time, here are a few key points that I took away and want to remember from the article—these are directly copied and pasted from the article:

·         In reading, the progress has been far slower and seems to have stalled out in fourth grade. Students at that level showed no improvement since 2009, and their scores were just four points higher than in 1992.

·         In both math and reading, fairly few students are reaching the “proficient” level set by NAEP… Still, that level represents a considerable improvement over time in math.

·         so much of reading is learned at home or across disciplines.

·         “We need to emphasize higher-order thinking skills when it comes to reading,” Ms. Hicks said, pushing comprehension over simple regurgitation. "Another key is taking a holistic approach,” including involving families, she added.

·         She talked about the many ways her school focuses on reading, including constant efforts to get kids excited about reading and “literacy blocks” – a period that focuses on phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary.

What are libraries already doing?

·         For most of us, getting kids excited about reading is one of our library’s primary missions.

·         Many public libraries already partner with their local schools on literacy project or at least have a contact at the school they provide with materials promoting library programs and services.

·         Many public libraries offer programming such as Every Child Ready to Read, Baby Signs, and family storytimes that strive to get families involved in their child’s language and literacy development at an early age.

·         Many libraries are adding science programming to storytimes, summer reading, and special events.

What more might libraries do?

·         Think more strategically about how all youth programming can get kids excited about reading.  Are you creating book/audio book displays and doing a book talk at gaming programs, movie nights, crafting programs, or special performances by jugglers and other entertainers?

·         We all know that kids can lose reading skills when they are not in school—that’s why we have the summer reading program!  However, what literacy based programming does your library offer during winter break and spring break?

·         Plan more programming to engage the whole family.  How can the whole family participate in summer reading together? Does your library offer mother-daughter or father-son book groups? Are there any programs in which parents/primary caregivers and their teens may want to participate in together—it’s a crazy notion, but can it work?  I’m personally skeptical, but it’s worth thinking about because the impact could be significant if it does work.

·         Think more strategically about your partnership with your local school(s). Talk with the school librarian, school reading specialist, or a reading/language arts teacher about how to get the kids who they know need the most help to participate in your library’s literacy programs and discuss/exchange ideas about literacy programs.

·         Examine how you are promoting audio books. Research shows that listening to stories read aloud from birth through high school helps develop vocabulary and reading comprehension—to learn more about this I recommend Jim Trelease’s Read-a-loud Handbook. Not only are audio books entertainment while we travel, they are important for developing reading skills and can be a positive whole-family activity.

Here is the URL to the article if the hyperlink doesn’t work: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/1101/Education-report-card-Flat-reading-scores-are-deeply-disappointing

Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528
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