Sent to the Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 23, 2013
The Dispatch feels there is no "magic bullet" to close achievement gaps ("Wide racial gaps persist in education testing," Sept. 22.). But there is a magic bullet: the library.
There is enormous evidence that self-selected pleasure reading is the source of much of our literacy development: Those who read more read better, write better, spell better, have larger vocabularies, and better grammar.
Students who live in poverty are "behind" in reading because they have few books in their homes. They also live in neighborhoods with few bookstores and with poorly-funded and often distant public libraries. Their only sure source of books is the school library. Strong school libraries with certified librarians can help close the gap in reading between high- and low-poverty students.
Students who start to read for pleasure at any age, at grade three or in high school, can make excellent progress in literacy development.
Original article: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/09/22/wide-racial-gap-persists-in-testing.html