Kindergarten-Middle School Talking Point #9

Link between children’s materials circulated by public libraries and fourth-grade reading scores

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).

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…

The presence of a teacher-librarian influences reading enjoyment

The presence of a teacher-librarian was the single strongest predictor of reading enjoyment for both grades 3 and 6 students.

Statistic Relationship Between High Reading Scores and School Media Center Budgets

There is a statistically significant relationship between higher reading scores and larger school media center budgets. Students taking the reading tests in grades 5, 7, 8, and 10 scored between 3 and 6 points higher on those tests in schools with higher media center expenditures.

Teachers agree pre-kindergarten programs would help more children succeed

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.

Significant relationship between reading levels and endorsed librarian staffing

There is a positive and statistically significant relationship between advanced reading levels and endorsed librarian staffing trendsSchools that either maintained or gained an endorsed librarian between 2005 and 2011 tended to have more students scoring advanced in reading in 2011 and to have increased their performance more since 2005 (45% and 49%, respectively) than schools that either lost their librarians or never had one ( 33% and 29%). Conversely, schools that either lost a librarian during that period or never had one (33% and 39%) tended to have fewer students scoring advanced in 2011 and to have seen lesser gains—or indeed, losses—since 2005 than schools that maintained or gained a librarian (23% and 18%).