Children who are avid readers come from homes in which reading and library visits are encouraged by family members. (Becoming a Nation of Readers, Anderson, et al, 1985). They also come from schools where library media teachers collaborate with classroom teachers. Together they promote programs that encourage regular access to collections of print and non-print materials sufficient to support student growth in creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. These programs build a love of reading and develop important skills in library use.
Independent reading has been identified as a major component in building vocabulary, comprehension skills, and writing fluency. Coupled with shared book experiences, it has been shown to have a profound effect on the acquisition of a second language as well (The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research, Krashen,1993). Krashen further reports that students who engage in free, voluntary reading exhibit more mature writing styles. Studies such as The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement show a strong positive correlation between library media programs and student achievement (Lance et al, 1993).
Technology has made available vast sources of print and non-print materials. Students need the ability to access, evaluate, and apply this information. Therefore, library media teachers and the programs they deliver are an integral part of the learning environment.
The mission of the California Reading Association is to serve as a professional educational network advocating literacy for all. It recognizes the important role that school libraries and the professional staffs who direct their programs play in building appreciation for the value of reading in an educated society, and in assisting students to realize their potential as problem solvers, decision makers, critical thinkers, and informed, responsible citizens.
Therefore, the California Reading Association:
1) recognizes the critical need for strong, professionally staffed library media programs in every school;
2) supports establishing school libraries as the hub for learning in the school environment;
3) encourages administrators, teachers, school board members, parents, and community members to actively support and endorse the right to information access through library programs;
4) encourages the identification of funds for professional library staffing and library collection expansion in existing school library-media centers; and
5) recommends a close alliance of school library media centers and public libraries as an effective support system for students.
Updated March 2003
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