Kindergarten–Middle School 6–12

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Talking Points for 
School Libraries

9. Students can get a head start on early reading success, if they are given opportunities to use public libraries. Students who are exposed to print-rich environments are more successful in school. And, they can go on to be successful lifelong learners, if that early boost is built upon by school library media programs.

Quick Stats Supporting This Talking Point

State-by-state data released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in November 2007 provides evidence of a strong, positive link between the amount of children's materials circulated by public libraries and fourth-grade reading scores on the same agency's National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).... Of states ranking in the top half of all states on reading scores, more than four-fifths (82 percent) ranked in the top half on circulation of children's materials per capita… Conversely, four out of five states (83 percent) in the bottom half on reading scores also rank in the bottom half on children's circulation… (Lance and Marks 2008)

The presence of a teacher-librarian was the single strongest predictor of reading enjoyment for both grades 3 and 6 students. Larger schools tended to have higher average reading enjoyment scores, and are also more likely to have teacher-librarians. Schools with teacher-librarians could be expected to have reading enjoyment scores that were 8 percentile points higher than average. | (Ontario Library Association 2006)

There is a positive and statistically significant relationship between children's services in public libraries and early reading success at school. Storytimes, lap-sit programs, and other services for young children are a major part of improving early reading skills. New state data from across the country confirms these services play a significant role in preparing children for success as readers. | (Lance and Marks 2008)

In nearly half the classrooms (46%), at least one out of five kids was inadequately prepared for kindergarten when they started schools.
A 2004 poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. was the first national survey in more than a decade to solicit kindergarten teachers’ opinions on the value of pre-kindergarten. Nine out of ten teachers agreed that “substantially more” children would succeed in school if all families had access to quality pre-kindergarten programs. The agreement rate rose to nearly 100% among teachers with mostly poor, minority children in their classes. | (Mason-Dixon Polling 2004)