Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Camp Read-a-Rama® and Fully-Engaged Literacy Learning: Implications for LIS Education

Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Camp Read-a-Rama® and Fully-Engaged Literacy Learning: Implications for LIS Education

Article excerpt

Introduction

Maya Angelou once said, "Elimination of illiteracy is as serious an issue to our history as the abolition of slavery" (Angelou). Angelou's comparison of illiteracy to slavery brings to the fore that those who fail to acquire reading and writing skills in childhood face far greater challenges throughout their lives than those who excel at these skills from an early age. Hence, literacy and literacy skill development remain critical concerns because without literacy, children face a future replete with limits-educational, economic, social, and otherwise. Research suggests that developing a positive attitude toward reading and enthusiasm for reading are critical steps toward literacy skill development and improvement. For example, Smith (1988) found that "the emotional response to reading . . . is the primary reason most readers read, and probably the primary reason most nonreaders do not read" (p.177). Given the critical importance of attitudes in literacy skill development, this study seeks: (1) to ascertain the impact Camp Read-a-Rama has on helping children develop positive attitudes toward and enthusiasm for reading; and (2) to offer proven best practices for literacy skill programming with children in libraries and the communities libraries serve. The study also recommends integrating literacy skill instruction and programming into LIS curricula to better prepare librarians and LIS professionals to meet the literacy needs of the children they serve both in and outside of libraries.

Literature Review

Many American children and youth lack the skills they need to function and contribute in today's twenty-first century society-a society that requires them to be multiliterate. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores indicate that "roughly one-third of U.S. students read at or above the proficient level, onethird read at the basic level, and one-third read at the below basic level" (Allington, 2011, p. 40). Numerous factors influence when and how easily children acquire literacy skills. Some of these include: race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status; access to books; ability or learning differences; family and community engagement, and participation in summer enrichment activities. Motivation to read can also impact literacy skill development. Because Camp Read-a-Rama focuses specifically on preventing and reversing summer reading loss, this literature review will concentrate on how race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status impact reading; summer reading loss and intervention programs; important elements of literacy skill development and maintenance; and family and community engagement.

Race, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status

According to Allington's 2011 article "What At-Risk Readers Need," "two of every three students in U.S. schools have reading proficiencies below the level needed to adequately do grade-level work" (p. 40). In 2015, only 36% of American fourth graders and 34% of eighth graders scored at or above the level of "Proficient" in reading (National Assessment of Educational Progress). African American, Hispanic, and Native American students lag far behind White students in reading achievement: 46% of White fourth graders read at the "Proficient" level in 2015, while only 18% of African American, 21% of Hispanic, and 21% of American Indian students read at this level. By eighth grade, 44% of White students read proficiently, contrasting with 16% of African American, 21% of Hispanic, and 22% of American Indian students who read proficiently (National Assessment of Educational Progress). Like the digital divide, this literacy achievement gap puts many non-White students at a clear disadvantage both in K-12 settings and in their level of preparedness for college-level work.

Alexander, Entwisle and Olson (2007) assert that children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to lack reading proficiency. More specifically, Lee, Grigg and Donahue's 2007 study found that "Eighth graders who were not eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch scored higher than those who were eligible, and those eligible for reduced-priced lunch scored higher than those eligible for free lunch" (p. …

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