Equity in access? The number of the books available in grade 1, 3 and 5 classroom libraries
In this study, we examined students’ access to text, defined as the number of texts freely available to children in their classrooms. From 60 elementary classrooms across five states, we catalogued the books in first, third and fifth grades in both high- and low-achieving schools (based on state-wide reading test scores) to create a database of more than 50,000 books. From this database, we concluded that the number of books per classroom varied significantly within and between states. However, the quantity of texts available to students did not appear to be related to variations in test scores; 54 of the 60 classrooms surpassed the recommended number of books per child based on previous research; two of the six classrooms that did not were in high-achieving schools. Our conclusion is that classroom libraries can provide children with necessary access to print, but access alone does little to explain differences between states in standardised test scores.
KeywordsAccess Equity Libraries Literacy
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