Libraries tied to student achievement

The following article appeared in the Toronto Sun.

Libraries tied to student achievement

Study makes case for training, funding

“…first Canadian study linking school libraries to student achievement indicates that better libraries improve student testscores and add to kids’ reading enjoyment. The Ontario School Library Association says the research, released yesterday, is the evidence it needs to make a case for more trained school librarians and better-stocked shelves. “There’s such a clear link between libraries and student achievement. I don’t know how the minister (of education) can ignore it,” said association president Michael Rosettis.

The study by Queen’s University professor Don Klinger was based on provincial test scores and attitudinal information collected by the province’s Education Quality and Accountability Office. That information was married with data on the state of elementary school libraries gathered by the provincial parent group, People for Education.

Klinger’s study of 800 elementary schools and about 50,000 students showed that schools without trained teacher-librarians were more likely to score lower on grades 3 and 6 reading tests. Schools with teacher-librarians had proportionally more students who scored the highest levels on Grade 6 tests.

The study found the biggest difference teacher-librarians made appeared to be in how much students enjoyed reading, said Klinger. The research showed that the presence of a teacher-librarian accounted for a small shift in students’ attitude to reading. It was a tiny variable, but given that researchers haven’t been able to identify most of the factors affecting student achievement, it is significant, he said. “If all school libraries were adequately staffed and sufficiently funded, just imagine the impact on student achievement,” said Rosettis, a teacher-librarian at St. Augustine Catholic High School in Markham.

Teacher-librarians are qualified teachers who’ve taken more courses to become librarians. They focus on integrating information technology with the curriculum, and work with teachers to design research units.

The $40,000 study was funded by the Ontario School Library Association, but conducted independently, Rosettis said.

U.S. studies have shown a link between student achievement and well-staffed, well-stocked school libraries. The librarians and People for Education say the Ontario government has made small steps to stem a 20-year decline in school libraries with a $17 million book grant last year and another $15 million last month.

Rosettis said he hopes new education minister Sandra Pupatello will find the study compelling enough to consider designating dedicated funds to teacher-librarians and books.

School boards get one librarian for every 769 students, but many schools don’t have that many students and even when they do get a library allocation, some principals spend the money on other staffing and specialty teachers in physical education or music.

People for Education research shows that only 54 per cent of Ontario elementary schools had a full- or part-time teacher-librarian last year, compared with 80 per cent in 1997-’98.

At Church Street Public School, full-time teacher-librarian Nancy Woodruff said she works with other teachers, looking for alternative curriculum materials to suit student needs, including those who haven’t yet learned English and others with learning disabilities. “These children will have to know how libraries function to the end of their school days,” she said, but every year she wonders if the school will be able to keep her in the library position. Principal Judy Gillis said she gets between $6,000 to $7,000 a year to stock the library but it’s a struggle with so many competing priorities. Pupatello was not available for comment yesterday.

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Standard year 12 exams in the pipeline

All Australian Year 12 students would sit standard national exams replacing all existing state qualifications if the federal government gets its way. Read on …

INTERNET USE INVOLVES BOTH PROS AND CONS FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS, ACCORDING TO SPECIAL ISSUE OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY

Some youth benefit from Internet use while for others it can exacerbate self-destructive behaviors

WASHINGTON, DC – Between 75 and 90 percent of teenagers in the United States use the Internet to email, instant message (IM), visit chat rooms and explore other sites on the World Wide Web.

According to the latest research presented in a special issue of Developmental Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), spending a lot of time on the Web can have both negative and positive effects on young people, i.e., the sharing of self-injury practices by some and the improvement of academic performance and health awareness by others.

Read on …

parenting, internet safety

INTERNET USE INVOLVES BOTH PROS AND CONS FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS, ACCORDING TO SPECIAL ISSUE OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY

Some youth benefit from Internet use while for others it can exacerbate self-destructive behaviors

WASHINGTON, DC – Between 75 and 90 percent of teenagers in the United States use the Internet to email, instant message (IM), visit chat rooms and explore other sites on the World Wide Web.

According to the latest research presented in a special issue of Developmental Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), spending a lot of time on the Web can have both negative and positive effects on young people, i.e., the sharing of self-injury practices by some and the improvement of academic performance and health awareness by others.

Read on …

parenting, internet safety

Podcasting 101 for K-12 Librarians

“When podcasting emerged in the communication revolution, I saw a unique opportunity to provide on-demand content in an easily accessible and cost-effective format.

What began as an interest in using podcasting for professional development has now become an interest in exploring creative podcast use in K–12 libraries.

When I first asked my librarians whether they used podcasts, two-thirds didn’t know what I was talking about. However, many of their students were already accessing and creating podcasts on their own. So I suggested that we brain­storm and plan how to turn podcasting into an opportunity to reach out to students and to affect learning.

” …Podcasting supports efforts to differentiate instruction in the library in accordance with No Child Left Behind requirements. The podcast is a viable alternative for delivering research content or lessons to students who need re­medial or extended support.

While auditory learners particularly benefit when podcasts are incorporated into the teaching model, librarians can help all students and staff find ways to creatively use podcasting. Sometimes new formats are the key to igniting interest. While creating podcasts, students learn to research, write, develop vocabulary, speak effectively, manage time, solve problems, and grab attention. “

Read the whole article…

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State of the World’s Mothers

In commemoration of Mother’s Day, Save the Children is publishing its seventh annual State of the World’s Mothers report. By focusing on the 60 million mothers in the developing world who give birth every year with no professional help and the 4 million newborns who die in the first month of life, this report helps to bring attention to the urgent need to reduce infant mortality around the world.

The report also identifies countries that are succeeding in improving the health and saving the lives of mothers and babies, and shows that effective solutions to this challenge are affordable – even in the world’s poorest countries. Read on …

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State of the World’s Mothers

In commemoration of Mother’s Day, Save the Children is publishing its seventh annual State of the World’s Mothers report. By focusing on the 60 million mothers in the developing world who give birth every year with no professional help and the 4 million newborns who die in the first month of life, this report helps to bring attention to the urgent need to reduce infant mortality around the world.

The report also identifies countries that are succeeding in improving the health and saving the lives of mothers and babies, and shows that effective solutions to this challenge are affordable – even in the world’s poorest countries. Read on …

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As test-taking grows, test-makers grow rarer

” ….Government and industry officials warn that the shortage of experts could undermine the testing process and lead to errors, with consequences like children’s being wrongly denied promotion and schools being mistakenly labeled as failing.

Already, they say, many states and school districts lack officials trained to oversee testing and make effective use of score data.

The states are being hardest hit because they desperately need psychometricians to supervise their multimillion-dollar contracts with test publishers but are routinely outbid not just by testing firms but also by colleges, research groups and other industries.”

Read the whole article


Character Is Destiny : Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember (Hardcover)

“McCain’s latest volume uses biography as an illustration of virtue, but this time the senator broadens his palette significantly, telling 34 stories of heroes whose lives embody qualities ranging from honesty and loyalty to curiosity and enthusiasm. At the root of them all, he says, is a willingness to stay true to one’s conscience against all challenges.”

“Although he is reaching out to a younger readership, McCain’s plain but sincere language does not condescend to his audience.”

More informationchildren’s books, parenting,


Character Is Destiny : Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember (Hardcover)

“McCain’s latest volume uses biography as an illustration of virtue, but this time the senator broadens his palette significantly, telling 34 stories of heroes whose lives embody qualities ranging from honesty and loyalty to curiosity and enthusiasm. At the root of them all, he says, is a willingness to stay true to one’s conscience against all challenges.”

“Although he is reaching out to a younger readership, McCain’s plain but sincere language does not condescend to his audience.”

More information

children’s books, parenting,