School Library Journal Offers Insight into the Future of Reading

The School Library Journal recently hosted their sixth annual Leadership Summit – 2010 The Future of Reading.  This year’s theme – exploring the ‘changing face of reading’ –  focused on a variety of topics, including how e-readers and digital texts are altering the way consumers access and digest information, the wide availability of content, and the role librarians play in the face of these rapid advances. 

One of our own partners, and a sponsor of the conference, Capstone Digital was present and discussed their own contribution to personalized learning platforms and its utilization of The Lexile Framework for Reading:

Meanwhile, Todd Brekhus, president of Capstone Digital, talked about establishing an online, personalized reading environment. He was joined by Barbara Rooks, formerly of Florida’s Hillsborough Public Schools, and Marlene Simmons of the Chicago Public Schools. The panelists presented a new digital reading model that engages students in their interests, establishes their reading level using the Lexile framework, allows for free choice in reading selection, and gives anytime, anywhere access to books. Discussion ranged from how a digital reading program could build student confidence to how librarians and educators could administer personalized reading plans.

The School Library Journal offers a more indepth summary here.  From the summary, it appears the conference touched on a wide range of relevant and pressing topics – everything from the use of multimedia and the use of animated and graphic texts in the classroom to reach reluctant readers, to leveraging social networks and mobility to expand readership, and even the need for a more robust definition and assessment of Internet literacy.  Be sure to take a look. 

It’s also worth mentioning that the School Library Journal is a great source for information on the world of publishing, new books, digital media, and the role of media in education.  In fact, we’ve added them to our list of sources on the right hand side of this blog.  If you’re not already reading, be sure to add SLJ to your list of bookmarks.

More Evidence on the Importance of Summer Reading

We’ve long been proponents of summer reading initiatives, and have written extensively on the substantial benefits these programs can provide.  Last week the School Library Journal released the results of a study from Dominican University on the value of such programs.  They targeted students between the end of third and the beginning of fourth grades and determined students’ beginning Lexile reading levels by using the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI).  Their findings reiterated the importance of summer reading.  As SLJ reports:

Students who take part in their local library’s summer reading program significantly improve their reading skills.  In fact, we found that kids who participate in these programs are 52 Lexile points ahead of their peers who do not.  Summer reading programs are also an antidote for learning loss.  So instead of losing knowledge and skills during the summer months, kids who attend reading programs actually show gains.

In addition, researchers found that the students who participated in summer reading programs “entered the following school year with a positive attitude about reading, were more confident in the classroom, read beyond what was required, and perceived reading as important.” 

This is great news.  Educators have been advocating efforts to combat ‘summer slide’ for years – efforts that have finally begun to catch the public eye.  Clearly, this study provides evidence which further supports the call to encourage summer reading. (more…)

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