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Social inequality of reading literacy

Susan Notes:

Clearly, these findings make the closing of public libraries around the country an even greater tragedy than many have realized.

by Stephen Krashen

Does access to books mitigate the effects of poverty on reading achievement? A third study

Schubert, F. and Becker, R. 2010. Social inequality of reading literacy

A longitudinal analysis with cross-sectional data of PIRLS 2001and PISA 2000 utilizing the pair wise matching procedure. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 29:109-133.

Schubert and Becker (2010) matched nearly 3000 children in Germany with similar backgrounds and examined their performance on the 2001 PIRLS test (given at age 9 or 10), the 2000 PISA test (given age 15) and on their parents' estimation of their literacy level before starting school.

The home print environment was a strong predictor of reading achievement, even when income, parental education, aspects of schooling, language used at home, and other aspects of the home environment were controlled. This was the case at age 15 and also at age 10 in Germany. The home print environment was about as strong a predictor as SES.

This is the third recent study that shows that access to books is as strong a predictor of reading ability as poverty.

The others:

Achterman, D. 2008. Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California. PhD dissertation, University of North Texas. http://digital.library.unt.edu/permalink/meta-dc-9800:1
Krashen, S., Lee, SY, and McQuillan, J. 2010. An analysis of the PIRLS (2006) data: Can the school library reduce the effect of poverty on reading achievement? CSLA Journal, in press. California School Library Association.

— F. Schubert and R. Becker
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility


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