Impact on Reading and Literacy

“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.”

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.

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.

"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…

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.

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.

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…

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).