Building a Reading Culture through Partnerships

PHILLIPS, Alisa, CROCKER, Rachel, LEEGE, Rebecca, TURNER, Joel and EBO, Emily (2017) Building a Reading Culture through Partnerships. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 138 - Literacy and Reading, Libraries for Children and Young Adults, Public Libraries and School Libraries.

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Language: English (Original)
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Building a Reading Culture through Partnerships

Globally, 250 million children (Teaching and learning,2013/14) lack access to relevant and fun reading materials. We know that access to books is important for lifelong learning and that children growing up in homes with many books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes (Evans, Kelley, Sikora & Treiman, 2010). Literacy is a vitally important gateway to livelihood development. Despite investments in improving reading performance among children, global literacy growth rates are stagnating (“The Making of Literate Societies,” 2006). There are three primary drivers behind this problem. First, there is a disconnect between formal education and informal learning. At most, children only spend about 15% of their time inside a classroom. To gain skills and an interest in reading, children need support beyond the classroom. Community based institutions, like public libraries and other non-formal out-of-school reading settings, are posed to provide this support. Second, parents have largely been removed from this discussion. Schools often struggle to promote a school-home linkage that provides opportunities for meaningful parental engagement, limiting the opportunity for children to continue reading outside of class. Third, many young readers are not learning to associate reading with enjoyment. Frequently, donors and governments prioritize providing textbooks over books that foster interest in reading. Textbooks simply reinforce reading as a rote means to receiving grades. Therefore, one critical approach to addressing these drivers is through partnerships. Creating partnerships at the community, public institution and donor levels for leverage of in-kind knowledge, services and financial resources can lead to effective changes in children’s reading.

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