Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We All Know Kids Need to Read

So why read yet another article on it? We're librarians, right? We know what kids need! However, I point you to this article perfectly titled: Children Need Books, Not Quangos. It's an article from the UK Times. Much of their stats over there, are similar to ours It's a struggle everywhere, but Russia (apparently they have the best readers! Who knew?) and The UK isn't even dealing with No Child Left Behind! And, if you don't have time to read the article, here are its key points:
  • literacy isn't as easily connected to poverty as many researchers have implied
  • 2 things children need to be strong readers: literature and encouragement (he mentions, as many literacy articles site the phenomenon that nearly all pre-schoolers love books!)
  • in some schools, literacy rose when 'formal reading time' was replaced with self-selected reading time
  • school librarians are being asked to spend more time on research and technology than the simple encouragement of reading and are under-funded and under-staffed (we surely know this!)
  • PA was brought into the article when the author cited a study done here regarding how high literacy scores' correlate with money spent on the school library and apparently, 75% of schools in our state, have no library (boy is that grim!)
Lastly, the author, Gilliean Bowditch says it best in her last paragraph:
We don’t need a literacy commission to improve children’s reading skills and habits. If you want your children to read, read to them daily from an early age, give them great books, plenty of encouragement and the occasional kick up the backside. Switch off the screens half an hour before bedtime and send them to bed with a book. Most importantly, set an example and read yourself. There are volumes of difference between literacy levels and literature.