Is The Library Important? Multivariate Studies at the National and International Level

Via Scoop.itStudent Learning through School Libraries
Research has shown that more access to books results in more reading and more reading leads to better literacy development. A new study on the impact of libraries on reading achievement by Stephen Krashen and colleagues using NAEP reading scores and PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) data. Three multivariate analyses, all controlling for the effects of poverty, confirm the importance of the library.

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Image: cc licensed ( CC BY-SA 2.0 ) flickr photo by Enokson

The researchers conclude:

“In all of the multivariate studies considered here the library emerges as a consistent predictor of reading scores… Of course, providing access is only the first step: Even with access, some children (but surprisingly few) will not read. The research literature consistently indicates that rewards for reading are not effective (McQuillan, 1997; Krashen, 2003; 2004), but that read-alouds and conferencing do help. But in order for these approaches to work, the books need to be there.

But what is clear is that libraries definitely matter and they matter a lot.

Inspection of the betas in the tables reveals that access to books in some cases had a larger impact on reading achievement test scores than poverty (tables 1,3, 4), and in other cases had nearly as strong an impact (tables 2,5). This suggests that providing more access to books can mitigate the effect of poverty on reading achievement, a conclusion consistent with other recent results (Achterman, 2008; Evans, Kelley, Sikora, and Treiman, 2010; Schubert and Becker, 2010). This result is of enormous practical importance: Children of poverty typically have little access to books (Krashen, 2004). It seems that libraries can provide this access.”

Here’s the link to a copy of the pdf version of this research paper Is The Library Important? Multivariate Studies at the National and International Level.

You might also want to keep an eye on Jeff McQuillan’s new blog The Backseat Linguist. Jeff is a former university professor of applied linguistics and education, and now a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Educational Development in Los Angeles, California.

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One response to “Is The Library Important? Multivariate Studies at the National and International Level

  1. Reblogged this on Going Beyond Survival in a School Library and commented:
    Why, then, are Alberta school libraries consistently under-staffed and under-funded? The research has been out there for some time. Is it not important that the next generation are fully literate? How can we get this message to the decision-makers?

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