“I have spent over 60 years visiting and working in libraries, I have seen the difference a librarian can make in the life of a child. Reading is everything.” NJ School Library Media Specialist.
School libraries with certified School Library Media Specialists have a measurable effect on the reading scores of students across the country. Here are just a few of the examples:
Students who attend schools with certified teacher-librarians and quality library facilities perform better on standardized tests and are more likely to graduate, even after controlling for school size and student income level.
The presence of a certified teacher-librarian on staff has a particularly high relationship to a school’s five year graduation rate. (85% compared to 79% without certified teacher-librarians). The five year graduation rate in high poverty schools was 78.8% “five-year” graduation rate versus 43.2% without a certified teacher-librarian. (1)
On average, almost nine percent (8.6%) more students score Advanced in Reading where students have a full-time, certified librarian with support staff than where there they have a full-time, certified librarian alone. Further, almost eight percent (7.9%) more students score Advanced in Reading where students have a full-time, certified librarian than where they do not (i.e., anything from a part-time librarian to none at all).
On average, the percentage of students scoring Advanced in Writing is two and a half times higher for schools with vs. schools without a full-time, certified librarian (13.2% vs. 5.3%). Similarly, the average percentage of students scoring Advanced in Writing is almost twice as high for schools with a full-time, certified librarian with support staff vs. those with a full-time certified librarian alone (16.7% vs. 9.2%).
Consistently, all students and all studied cohorts at schools with larger book collections are more likely to earn Advanced and less likely to earn Below Basic scores than their counterparts at schools with smaller book collections. (2)
Children who are more proficient in comprehension and technical reading and spelling skills read more; because of more print exposure, their comprehension and technical reading and spelling skills improved more with each year of education. In preschool and kindergarten print exposure explained 12% of the variance in oral language skills, in primary school 13%, in middle school 19%, in high school 30%, and in college and university 34%. (3)
(1) Coker, E. (2015). Certified Teacher-Librarians, Library Quality and Student Achievement in Washington State Public Schools. [PDF document]. Retrieved from https://wala.memberclicks.net/assets/WLMA/Advocacy/wsslit%20exec%20summary%204.7.15.pdf
(2) Lance, C.K., Schwarz, B. (2012). How Pennsylvania School Libraries Pay Off: Investments in Student Achievement and Academic Standards, RSL Research Group, Louisville, Colorado. [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED543418.pdf
(3) Mol, S.E., Bus, A.G. (2011). To read or not to read: A meta-analysis of print exposure from infancy to early adulthood, Psychological Bulletin, 137, 267-296.