Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Report, again! (Sort of)

I know that I just reviewed a book for you and this isn't technically a book report, but it is about books so I used the logo.

Most of you know about the "Little Free Library," I am sure. (If you don't, you can read about it here.) Little Free Library is one of those things I wish I'd thought of. (I did invent the Swiffer, and I wrote about it someplace but I'll be darned if I know where that post is. We'll leave that story for another day and just trust me.)

At my new school, the focus is literacy. 100% of our students get free/reduced lunch, and none of them are reading on grade level. We aim to change that through intense, targeted reading instruction. We also want to be sure that our families have access to reading material, as well.

Enter the Little Free Library outside Cook Literacy Model School. (Only ours is not so little.)

Our entire city is pitching in to make our school a success, and some folks donated this for our front courtyard. It's in a space where parents and neighbors can choose a book to take home, read, and either bring back or keep, if they like.  The bottom two shelves are for student books (it makes me want all those old Goosebumps books back!) and the top shelf is for grown-ups...it'll be getting a few cozy mysteries this morning.

Here's the research that shocked me:

*61% of low-income families have no age-appropriate books in their homes. (1)

*Children from middle-income homes have on average 13 books per child. There is only one book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods. (2)

I grew up in a house with lots of books, and my mother made sure we got to the public library for more at least once a week. Books were always a priority purchase for my own children, and they always knew the importance of reading. It breaks my heart to think that babies and wee ones are not being read to, and the reason they aren't is because for many of these children, there's no access to the written word. That means when they get to school, there are vocabulary gaps and there's been no comprehension practice.

I think it's important that my final years as an educator are spent on a quest for literacy for all our students. I hope that if you have books you're not reading, you'll look for a little free library and drop them off. (And pick up a few while you're there!) Books should be enjoyed and shared.

  1. (Source: Reading Literacy in the United States: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study, 1996.)
  2. (Source: Neuman, S., & Dickinson, D. (Eds.). (2006) Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Vol. 2).] 


Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

WOW. Both of those stats blow me away, but I also wonder if the electronic books haven't lowered the number in the middle income families. Because I would call us muddle income and we have loads of books, plus e-books. I realize that we are outside the norm as Chris and I are avid readers, but I would still think people would own more!!!! Sad. And with school starting I fell behind and need to read your next chapters!

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

I'm saddened to hear those stats. It's also so sad to hear the kids that have access to as many books as they want make comments like "oh, I don't read", like it's so cool. It turns my stomach! I love these free libraries- what a wonderful idea that has taken off around the world. Just amazing. What a great gift to your school.

karen@somewhatquirky said...

Very important post, dear.

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