Sent to the Los Angeles Times: August 14, 2016
If LAUSD wants to raise graduation rates (editorial, August 14), it might consider investing more in libraries and librarians.
LAUSD students scored far below the national average on the national reading test (NAEP) in 2015; these scores are closely connected to how much students read on their own.
Research also tells us that more reading means better grammar, spelling, vocabulary, writing and more knowledge of literature, social science, and science, all crucial for school success.
Research consistently shows that students read more when they have more access to books. LAUSD students have very little access to books at home, in their communities, or at schools.
According to the Times' article, "The Poverty Gap," the national level of poverty is 15%. But 80% of LAUSD students live at or below the poverty line. Students living in poverty have far fewer books in the home.
In 2015, Los Angeles ranked 68th out of 77 American cities in public library quality.
In LAUSD's school libraries the books-per-student ratio is 35% below the state average.
The presence of a credentialed librarian is related to reading achievement. LAUSD has one teacher-librarian for every 5,784 students, the national average is one per 1,026.
The low graduation rates are no surprise.
original article: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-credit-recovery-courses-20160814-snap-story.html
Sources and details:
More reading means better ….. : Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Second edition. Libraries Unlimited.
More access to books > more reading. Krashen. S 2004. Ibid.
80% of LAUSD students at or below poverty line. http://home.lausd.net/apps/news/article/344072
Fewer books in the home: Krashen, 2004, ibid,
LA Libraries 68th out of 77: (2015) "America's Most Literate Cities report." http://web.ccsu.edu/americasmostliteratecities/
LAUSD school libraries 35% below state average: http://laschoolreport.com/la-unified-reopens-all-district-libraries-but-forgets-about-the-books/
Credentialed librarians: Studies by Keith Curry Lance and Associates: https://www.lrs.org/data-tools/school-libraries/impact-studies/. Small, R.V. and Snyder, J. (2009). The Impact of New York’s School Libraries on Student Achievement and Motivation--- The Phase II In-Depth Study. School Library Media Research, 12.