"Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy - which many believe goes hand in hand with it - will be dead as well."
- Attributed to Margaret Atwood
There is an incredible amount of rhetoric in the media and from politicians about the apparent crisis in education and the need to return to the basics, especially considering that we have just had NAPLAN, or rather, some students have had NAPLAN and others have not. There are a great many programs out there that teachers utilise to help build literacy skills with varying degrees of research behind them and varying degrees of success.
My long time readers will be aware that I am a proponent of the THRASS program and have completed the Foundation level training. I was due to attend the Mastery level training last year but ended up not being able to go due to health issues in the family, and was invited to attend the first THRASS conference but it unfortunately coincided with my daughter's first birthday and so attending was not an option.
The THRASS conference is on again for 2019 (details and registration here) and will be in Melbourne. There are a range of speakers, ranging from Principals, to classroom teachers, to speech pathologists and others. I will also be speaking and have been asked to provide a challenging and thought provoking talk. As such I have been reading through the media articles, some OECD reports, and research articles and have been astounded at what the research is saying about the value of appropriately qualified Teacher-Librarians. For example, Dr. Hilary Hughes, in this article, writes that:
"Over 30 studies conducted in the USA, Canada, Britain and Australia have provided evidence that school libraries have positive impacts on student literacy, reading and learning outcomes (summarised in Hughes, 2013). For example...indicate that student achievement is improved by:
Yet I see more and more schools not replacing their librarians and many new schools not having a library, at all. The library is a valuable location in a school and can provide many things to many people beyond books and information.
I'd recommend reading through the rest of Dr. Hughes' article as it makes for enlightening reading.
If you're going to be attending the THRASS conference, plesae let me know - it would be great to meet up with some readers.
As always, thank you for reading.