Learned, J., Frankel, K, & Brooks, M. (2022). Disrupting Secondary Reading Intervention: A Review of Qualitative Research and a Call to Action. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 65(6), 507-517. https://ila.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jaal.1234
A recent study of reading achievement of students in England’s secondary schools revealed several factors that predicted reading gains: leadership of reading such as a deputy head of literacy lead, regular assessment to accurately determine students’ reading needs, training staff on emerging reading strategies, highly skilled librarians to select and promote appropriate books, adequate funding to support reader needs, and staff awareness of students’ reading levels and needs.
‘Now the whole school is reading’: Supporting struggling readers in secondary schools. (2022, Oct.). Ofstead.
The International Literacy Association published a new report about the leadership of school librarians, which may be access at https://www.literacyworldwide.org/docs/default-source/where-we-stand/the-essential-leadership-of-school-librarians.pdf?sfvrsn=f80c5216_6&fbclid=IwAR1BakLc6z83Q4PUXkHTsufjc9OAPym4BxY6nxXMKOSDHhbUWp3Ba9-6-z4
Librarians know that information literacy is much more complex and nuanced than the basic library research skill that it’s often portrayed as; in fact, as outlined by the ACRL Framework, research is a contextual activity. But the settings in which we teach often constrain our ability to take a more layered approach. “Using Context in Information Literacy Instruction: Beyond Basic Skills,” published by ALA Editions, not only shows readers how to teach information literacy as something other than a basic skill, but also how to do it in whatever mode of teaching they’re most often engaged in, whether that’s a credit-bearing course, a one-shot session, a tutorial, a reference desk interaction, or a library program. Taking readers through each step of the research process, author Allison Hosier shares ideas for adding context while exploring a variety of scenarios.
Here is the press release: https://www.ala.org/news/member-news/2022/01/beyond-basic-skills-information-literacy-instruction.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 54% of U.S. adults 16-74 years old – about 130 million people – lack proficiency in literacy, reading below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level. That’s a shocking number for several reasons, and its dollars and cents implications are enormous because literacy is correlated with several important outcomes such as personal income, employment levels, health, and overall economic growth.
Commenting on the significance of the study, British A. Robinson, president and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation, said, ‘America’s low literacy crisis is largely ignored, historically underfunded and woefully under-researched, despite being one of the great solvable problems of our time. We’re proud to enrich the collective knowledge base with this first-of-its-kind study, documenting literacy’s key role in equity and economic mobility in families, communities and our nation as a whole.’”
This year, the American Library Association (ALA) held their annual conference virtually. While it limited networking, it also enabled more people to attend (because of cost, travel expenses, time). Furthermore, several sessions were available online on demand, so one could potentially attend more sessions than if attending physically. I was excited to take advantage of these elements.
In terms of literacy, collaborative and community-based partnerships were foremost and central. I spoke about the role of school libraries as literacy partners: as resource providers, as reading promoters, as information and digital literacy teachers, and as collaborators who bridge the school community and the community at large.
Another fascinating session featured Reading Nation Waterfall, which targets literacy for elementary children in six Native tribes. This federal grant-based project is using Little Free Libraries as the core element, complemented with community-based literacy practices. I serve as a consultant for that project.
Another major focus at the conference was equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). There were sessions on EDI in publishing: both in terms of soliciting more diverse authors as well as providing culturally responsive content. Collection development also needs to use a critical EDI lens to provide mirrors and windows to a variegated world. Particularly with the advent of the pandemic, librarians have pivoted to more online reading, and they need to pay attention to issues of digital access; for instance, librarians need to provide e-reader devices, and locate local free wifi hotspots for readers. Librarians also emphasized the need for welcoming environments that embrace all users. Other sessions also provided – and recommended – professional development on EDI and its application in library practice.
The closing keynote featured former President Barak Obama, who validated the importance of libraries for providing a world of information and ideas that can unite us.
Submitted by Dr. Lesley Farmer
Dr. Stephen Krashen, international linguistics scholar, and his colleagues have completed the third phase of his longitudinal study of significant factors in children’s levels of literacy. Using the PIRLS test, he found that school libraries and their collections were the main contributing factor, and made up for some of the negative effort of poverty. Direct teaching and early literacy did not have a significant effect. Access the paper at Krashenpredictors of PIRLS