"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Children get their books from (school) libraries

I just finished reading "Primary Sources: America's Teachers on America's Schools" which was published by Scholastic and the Gates Foundation. This report has been discussed in newspapers all over the country. Not mentioned in any of the media reports, and not mentioned in the summary section of the report is an interesting result about where students get their books for their own independent reading. This result was not discussed in the text but is buried deep in the appendix.

Q1505 Where do your students get books for their independent reading most often? Select all that apply.

1. school library: all levels: 83%. high school 80%
2. my classroom library: all levels: 68%, high school: 31%; elementary school 87%
3. public library: all levels: 38% high school: 46%
4. retailers: all levels: 20%, high school: 35%

This is similar to what has been reported before in the professional literature, as I reported in The Power of Reading, but shows the impact of the school library far more clearly than ever before. If independent reading is a major source of our competence in literacy, this confirms that school and classroom libraries are very very important.

Unfortunately, the study did not look at differences in level of poverty.

Primary Sources: America's Teachers On America's Schools
Scholastic, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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