Chicago Public Schools vs school libraries




Harold Howe, author of Thinking about Our Kids, has said, “What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.” They must not think much about education in Chicago these days. They have taken school librarians out of the library and assigned them to classroom teaching. I learned of the problem from a report on National Public Radio. I lived in the Chicago area for more than 20 years, and during the last 15 years or so of that time, I was married to a suburban elementary school teacher. We lived through a strike. … Continue reading






The importance of summer reading programs at the library




School’s out, or soon will be. “No more classes! No more books! No more teachers’ dirty looks!” That “no more books” part is a problem, though–especially if it lasts all summer. Libraries pick up the slack. Children who don’t read over the summer return in the fall having lost some of their reading ability. That puts them behind, or farther behind, their reading classmates–as much as two years behind by the time they finish sixth grade. Some children are bookworms. They will read all summer simply for the joy of it. Others struggle with reading in school, and of course … Continue reading






Libraries support families




If you have ever dropped your kids at the library for story time, you know one way that libraries support families. If that’s all you know, you have hardly scratched the surface of what the library has to offer. The Children’s Reading Foundation has determined that pre-schoolers need hundreds of hours of being read to in order to be adequately prepared for kindergarten. Even parents with minimal or no reading skills can make up stories to go along with the pictures in books. Twenty minutes a day beginning in babyhood will easily add up to that much time. Unfortunately, not … Continue reading






Libraries open children’s minds




According to the Children’s Reading Foundation, “It takes hundreds of hours of ‘lap time’ for a child to acquire the pre-literacy skills necessary for learning to read early and well.” Twenty minutes a day is enough to accomplish that goal by the time a child is ready for kindergarten. Any adult with even the most rudimentary reading skills can do it. Even adults who can’t read themselves can hold a picture book and make up stories. But does every child receive that kind of attention? Alas, no. Here is one way the library can greatly help. Of course, a skilled … Continue reading