If the government is looking to improving NAPLAN test results, there is a specialist available to every school who can help – the teacher librarian.
Over 60 studies have shown a direct improvement in student achievement when school libraries were well-stocked and staffed. This is true for literacy and academic achievement. Here’s what some of those studies say about the literacy aspects:
Iowa: reading test scores rise with the development of school library programs. The relationship between library program development and test scores is not explained away by other school or community conditions at the elementary level (Rodney, Lance and Hamilton-Pennell, 2002).
Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) reading test scores rise with the extent to which the state’s school library programs are headed by certified library media specialists (Rodney, Lance, and Hamilton-Pennell, 2003).
Minnesota: Twice as many schools with above-average scores had full-time library media specialists (Baxter and Smalley, 2003).
Oregon: Whatever the current level of development of a school’s library program, these findings indicate that incremental improvements in its staffing, collections, and budget will yield incremental increases in reading scores (Lance, Rodney, and Hamilton-Pennell, 2001).
Pennsylvania: For all three tested grades, the relationship between adequate school library staffing and Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) reading scores is both positive and statistically significant (Lance, Rodney, and Hamilton-Pennell, 2000).
Ontario, Canada: Schools with professionally trained school library staff could be expected to have reading achievement scores that were approximately 5.5 percentage points higher than average in grade 6 EQAO results (Klinger, 2006).
Illinois: Increased library staffing is linked to higher reading performance for all grade levels (Lance, Rodney and Hamilton-Pennell, 2005).
All summarized in School Libraries Work! (Scholastic, 2008).