According to the latest Census results, 27.8 % of the students in the Lancaster County School District are currently living below the poverty level. This stunning percentage is made worse by our last years end of grade testing with many of our students not making a proficient score in reading or writing.
Evidence shows that increasing student reading time has the biggest impact on improving reading and test achievement. Students who score in the 98 percentile read at least 67 minutes a day (Anderson, 1998).
This means that students are reading throughout the school day and also at home. Reading at home during the year is important; It is also critical that students read during vacations and the summer.
Research has shown that having books in the home is critical for creating readers and thinkers:
- “Home library size has a very substantial effect on educational attainment, even adjusting for parents’ education, father’s occupational status and other family background characteristics,” reports a study recently published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.
- “Regardless of how many books the family already has, each addition to a home library helps the children get a little farther in school.”
- “But the gains are not equally great across the entire range. Having books in the home has a greater impact on children from the least-educated families. It is at the bottom, where books are rare, that each additional book matters most.” (Evans, 2010)
So, what can be done?
One exciting option is to place little free libraries around the community.
A Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share.
Lancaster County School District is working to increase the literacy rate in Lancaster County.
Effectively engaging families and communities around student literacy can lead to increased reading and writing skills.
Our vision is to partner with our community and support literacy for a life-long love of reading. We want to provide open access to books and cultivate a community of committed readers.
We have reached our initial goal to place 12 Little Free Libraries across our county in pre-selected sites to provide families with easy access to books throughout the year.
There are still ways you can help. We still need:
- A large collection of books for a Little Free Library
- Individuals to be stewards of the libraries
- Additional libraries to reach other parts of the county
If you are interested in being a part of this exciting initiative, you can contact Staci White, Lisa Hallman or Angela Vaughan. Your participation will make our county a better place, one book exchange at a time.
Books have the power to change lives – they inspire, they challenge and they teach.
Angela Vaughan at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 416-8812.
- Anderson, R. C., Wilson, P.T., & Fielding, L. G. (1988). Growth in reading and how children spend their time outside of school. Reading Research Quarterly, 23, 285-303.
- Evans, M.D.R., J. Kelley, J. Sikora, and D. J. Treiman. 2010. "Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success: Evidence From 27 Nations." Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 28(2):171-197.