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If you are a Colorado librarian and you were at the state CAL conference last year and you heard keynote speaker Stephen Krashen, you already know this.

But for those of you who missed out (and you really did miss out on a stellar speech), research looking at 250 in Florida shows that–

Poverty is the biggest predictor of a child’s reading level. The higher the poverty, the lower the reading level.

Join Krashen’s Twitter feed, read his book The Power of Reading, hear him speak and you will hear him say it over and over again–It’s the poverty. Krashen’s been preaching this for years.

It’s not how early or late we start the reading instruction, it’s not how or how often children are assessed, it’s not class size, teacher resources, ethnicity–It’s the poverty.

Read more here, Poverty, Reading Scores, and Resilient Schools. It confirms what we know. It’s clear and straightforward. It’s our challenge as a society to be truthful and focus on the real problem and not be sidetracked.

Spread the word,


What makes a reader? Someone who is read to and someone who reads. It’s that simple. How many words does a child consume–that’s the make or break point.

Many of my conversations with concerned parents are some variation of the “it’s the number of words” talk. Statistics from the new National Literacy Trust report bear this out.

Here’s a few:

  • 8 out of 10 children who read ten or more books a month are above average readers.
  • 77% of children who read for an hour or more at a time are above average readers.
  • Only 4% of children who read for an hour or more at a time are below average readers.

Basically, the longer a child reads, the more practice they get, the more words they read, the more internal reinforcement they get from the process (because the more they read, the easier it gets, and the more fun it becomes).

Interestingly enough, text messaging words don’t seem to apply–or at least not as well as sitting down with a novel. Children who read text messages but not novels are twice as likely to be below average readers. More research here would be great. My hunch is that it’s not the same because texts come in little chunks rather than continuous streams, ie, try to read texts for over an hour without interruption. 🙂

Want to read more? Here’s the summary article and link to the research. Or read Jim Trelease’s take on it in The Read-Aloud Handbook on pages 142-147. (If you’ve never read Trelease, you’re in for a real treat!).

Read on!


It’s been far longer than I expected, but I’m back! Scroll down for my first post since I left (and my 400th post all together!).

Between surgery (yes, I’m cured! :-)), summer reading, installation of a new ILS at my library, and gearing up for our move to the new library, posting just kept going to the bottom of the list.

We still have the move coming up with all the packing, unpacking, and adjusting that will entail. I will do my best, though, to post again regularly.

Thanks for hanging out in the meantime!


This is the most important research report I have read this summer, perhaps even this year.

Got it? The most important. Read it here: Study Sheds Light on Auditory Role in Dyslexia.

It’s extremely hard to find just one quote to highlight. The article is chock full of outstanding points. Here’s one though:

“Dr. Gabrieli said the findings underscored a critical problem for dyslexic children learning to read: the ability of a child hearing, say, a parent or teacher speak to connect the auditory bits that make up words, called phonemes, with the sight of written words. If a child has trouble grasping the sounds that make up language, he said, acquiring reading skills will be harder.”

Isn’t that just so cool? If you’re a children’s librarian, and especially if you are one that’s worked with Every Child Ready to Read over the years, you are jumping up and down just like I am.

They are talking about phonological awareness, that mouthful of a skill that we encourage every time we sing, say a rhyme, or do a fingerplay with kids. Every time we talk, sing, and play with language with kids, we help them develop the ability to hear individual sounds and pieces of words.

Just think about singing, “Down by the station, early in the morning.” The words “station,” “early,” and “morning” are broken apart and each part gets its own musical note. To sing the song, you have to hear each part. Sing it enough, and say enough rhymes with ending “ing’s,” and you can read it years later because you can connect those squiggles on the page with the sound the teacher says and the sound you have heard and know.

It’s the beginning of a new school year. Go forth with confidence, knowing the silliness you do has a tremendous influence on a child’s ability to learn to read later and therefore, his or her future.

Sing on,


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Contact Info for Babette

email babette(dot)reeves(at)gmail(dot)com
snail mail
73 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101

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