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Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.
Libraries and the achievement gap
Is the growing gap in children's achievement primarily fueled by economics? What other factors may have a role in it — and how can the apparent trend be reversed?
A recent piece in The New York Times reports studies that indicate a widening fissure in educational achievement between rich and poor. But it also suggests other factors may be at play.
Access to books, computers, knowledgeable staff, and other resources can be found in well-funded (but often not) school and public libraries — key "equalizers" in helping students achieve.
Where else might a child (and adults) meet authors like Charles Dickens — especially during his bicentennial birthday month?
My favorite introduction to this literary hero — sure to engage and inspire young readers is Charles Dickens: Scenes from an Extraordinary Life by Mick Manning (Frances Lincoln), illustrated by Brita Granstrom. This and other work by this author/illustrator team is not well known; its publisher is U.K.-based — enhancing the importance of library collections.
So let's introduce writers — contemporary and classic — to all children equitably and make sure that libraries are open and staffed to do so. That's a key ingredient to narrowing the achievement gap.