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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Scholastic's Reading Bill of Rights: The Missing Element

Scholastic has just issued a breathtaking proclamation, The Reading Bill of Rights, that says, among other things, that the ability to read is the birthright of every child in the world, and that "every child should have access to books, magazines, newspapers, computers, e-readers, and text on phones."
Missing from this inspiring statement is how children will get access to books, magazines, etc. Children of poverty have very little access to reading material at home, at school and in their communities. The obvious source is the library, and research confirms that access to a good library is related to literacy development, independent of the effect of poverty.
But libraries in high-poverty areas are not well-funded, and have fewer materials and are open fewer hours than those in low-poverty areas.
I hope Scholastic will become an aggressive, outspoken, and strong proponent of better funding for public and school libraries, especially in high-poverty areas, and more support for librarians who understand what children really like to read.

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