What Does the Research Tell Us?

"Different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures." Dr. B.D. Perry, Baylor College of Medicine.

There is research taking place right now on the topic of changing brain structures based on the WAY children are learning today. Not only are students learning and processing information differently, their brains are "physically" changing due to the altered states of HOW they are thinking because of the variety of digital devices and gaming experiences they are exposed to every day (Web 2.0 Personal & Professional Learning, 2010). Prensky discusses the "physical changes" in the brain when learning situations have changed in his article, "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Part II - Do They Really Think Differently?" (2001). Prensky presents evidence from neurobiology, social psychology, and studies completed on children learning from gaming and concludes that these specialists do agree that the brain will physically change in a new learning environment.

What Does Research Tell Us About Quality School Library Programs and Student Achievement?

elem_library.jpgIn April 2010 I completed a Literature Review to present concrete examples of how a quality school library program, staffed with a qualified teacher-librarian can increase the overall achievement of students, entitled, "Do Qualified Teacher-Librarians and Their Programs Impact Student Achievement? A Review of the Research."

“When effective school libraries are in place, students do learn. 13,000 students cannot be wrong” (Todd & Kuhlthau, 2003). Todd and Kuhlthau concluded from their study in Ohio that Teacher-Librarians who establish their roles at school as a professional, visionary, and instructional and curriculum leader have seen increases in student performance on standardized testing and development of information literacy skills. They also found that, "Students appear to indicate that the school library - not as a passive supply agency, but as an instructional agency - helps them substantially in their learning." Todd and Kuhlthau recommended that school Library programs should offer instruction on information literacy skills for inquiry learning by a qualified Teacher-Librarian willing to collaborate with classroom teachers. The instructional role and the leadership role of the Teacher-Librarian are common themes evolving when reviewing the literature and research available on the topic of the impact of school Library programs on student achievement.

Another study conducted by Keith Curry-Lance and his colleagues in 2000, known as the Second Colorado Study, also found very similar results in that reading scores improved when School Library programs were well developed in regards to information technology instruction, classroom teacher and teacher-librarian collaboration, and student use of the library. The results of the Second Colorado Study determined that quality School Library programs raised reading scores by 10 to 18 percent.

There has been many scholarly documents written by leaders in the field of Library Programs in Canada supporting the relationship between quality School Library Programs and increased student achievement (Asselin 2003, Asselin, Branch, & Oberg, 2003, and Branch & Oberg, 2001). Most literature confirms that an adequate budget, classroom-teacher and teacher-librarian collaboration, Administration support, and the instructional role of the teacher-librarian are all factors that contribute to the success of the Library Program and future student successes. My entire Literature Review is attached below.