Kindergarten-Middle School Talking Point #1

"What's the Big Idea?" emphasizes child-directed, hands-on exploration

A feature of the program as a whole is its devotion to the principles of scientific and mathematical investigation. The key is personal acts of discovery. “What’s the Big Idea?” emphasizes child-directed, hands-on exploration rather than adult-mediated instruction. Direction is provided in the form of open-ended, curiosity-provoking questions…

Children discussed their favorite texts

In fact, multiple resources were mentioned as ways to find books and materials, including public libraries… Children discussed their favorite texts at length and in detail, sometimes making intertextual connections between a book and the film rendition, at other times listing favorite genres, series, and authors.

Children explore their own interests

The availability of many titles meant children could explore their own interests and develop a sense of reading as an enjoyable activity. Asking for specific books and requesting help from the librarian was one way to claim competence as a reader and as a learner.

Children should be ready for school and public libraries may play a vital role in this process

The [author’s] study took place in a Midwestern county with a population of approximately 120.000… Poverty level of the county was 12% and this level even goes higher for under the age of 18 year old children, 14.1%. Approximately 15.000 children were enrolled in K-12 schools in 1999. 30% of these children were eligible for free or reduced fee lunch program (CAPE,2007). These data show that, at-risk children’s number is high enough not to be ignored. These children should be ready for school and public libraries may play a vital role in this process.

Circulation of young adult materials is strong

Circulation of young adult materials is strong, despite the fact that libraries only spend an average of 5.2 percent of their materials budget on young adult materials. In the fiscal year 2006, an average of 4.7 items per young adult circulated, with a materials cost of $2.97 per young adult.

80% of Americans think that all children need access to a good, safe, and appealing library

Eighty percent of Americans think that all children need access to a good, safe, and appealing library. Of the top public priorities for public libraries, having enough current children’s books ranked second (82% of respondents) and providing reading hours and other programs for children ranked fifth (79% of respondents).

Four elements generate excitement about the public library

Four elements seemed to generate excitement about the public library: the ability to check out many titles at one time, the ability to choose what to read, the availability of family programs, and the fact that all of the above came at no cost.

Four elements seemed to generate excitement about the public librar

Four elements seemed to generate excitement about the public library: the ability to check out many titles at one time, the ability to choose what to read, the availability of family programs, and the fact that all of the above came at no cost.

Parents reported that their children enjoyed the program

Parents, almost unanimously, reported that their children enjoyed the program, and afterwards continued to talk about the experience at home. Most parents felt the hands-on projects were the best part of the session; some also mentioned the effective link of books to activities, as well as the positive social aspects of the program.

Programming and outreach for children and young adults is an important part of public library services

Programming and outreach for children and young adults is an important part of public library services. In 2006, there were over 102,000 library programs geared towards young adults with a total attendance of 2.1 million students. Under school outreach efforts, 70% of libraries reported that classes visited the library and 73% reported that the library visited classes. Libraries also reported strong partnerships with other organizations to serve youth: 66% with youth organizations, 54% with recreational organizations, 52% with cultural organizations, and 38% with health or mental health organizations. In 2006, 77% of libraries reported they had a children’s or young adult page on their website.

States Ranking in the Top Half on Reading Scores, Ranked in the Top Half on Circulation

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…

Vermont Center for the Book has amassed an extensive, multifaceted bibliography

For each of the four topics, the Vermont Center for the Book has amassed an extensive, multifaceted bibliography of children’s picture books, a long list of related projects and activities, suggestions for independent discovery centers, and a selection of recommended resources and manipulatives.

“Kids love the programs, and librarians, parents, and early-childhood educators do too”

“Kids love the programs, and librarians, parents, and early-childhood educators do too,” said [Sally] Anderson. “’What’s the Big Idea?’ helps librarians expand on the things they already do, incorporating science and math into all kinds of ongoing library programs. And the opportunity to experiment and solve problems on their own is a phenomenal self-esteem builder for kids. The activities are fun, but this is also serious stuff, and the kids understand that. They’re not only playing; they’re discovering the rewards of intellectual satisfaction.”

Summer educational programs are needed to address the achievement gap

Differences in reading activities and family involvement in summer learning beginning in first grade account for the achievement gap that give children from high socio-economic status an advantage over children from low socio-economic backgrounds. The best way to address the achievement gap is to provide disadvantaged children with rich and engaging educational programs during the summer months.

Public library summer reading programs impact children living in poverty

Public library summer reading programs can have a profound impact, especially on children living in poverty. On the whole, these children have a greater summer learning loss than do children from affluent families, and any gains that they had over the summer were smaller than their peers whose families had higher incomes. Twice as many fourth graders (58% versus 27%) from disadvantaged families fell below the basic level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) than did students from more affluent families, and far fewer tested at a proficient level (13% verses 40%)

Library summer reading programs impact student reading levels, ability, and enjoyment

Library summer reading programs have a major impact on student reading levels, ability, and enjoyment. An evaluation of summer reading programs in Los Angeles found that participating children spent more time looking at and reading books than before they joined the program. During the summer, the percent of children reading 10-14 hours a week increased by nine percentage points and the proportion of children reading 15 or more hours a week rose by 11 percentage points. Teachers contacted as part of the Los Angeles study found that the difference between students who participated in summer library programs and those who did not was readily apparent the following fall. The most dramatic difference was that participants were much more enthusiastic about reading: 55% had a high enthusiasm for reading compared to less than 40% of non-participants. Teachers also reported that participating students who were reading above grade level before the summer were more likely to maintain this reading level than peers who did not participate in the summer reading program.

Regular access to public libraries can make the difference between summer setback and success

Regular access to public libraries can make the difference between summer setback and summer success. Children who reported easy access to books read more books. Reading as few as four to five books over the summer can prevent a decline in reading achievement scores from the spring to the fall.

Libraries' summer reading programs increase literacy levels among elementary school children

Public libraries increase literacy levels among elementary school children through summer reading programs, which are particularly effective at addressing the achievement gap. Summer reading programs increase young people’s interest in reading by combining silent reading with opportunities for children to read out loud, listen to stories, and take part in creative activities inspired by what they’ve read. These programs have also been very effective at drawing parents into students’ reading lives, a crucial element in developing strong reading habits.