Sunday, December 2, 2012

School Librarians in Common Core Standards

Thrilled to see school libraries in the California Common Core Standards. However, as I looked at them for each grade level they seemed to be very watered down, especially those for grades 3, 4, and 5. CCCS generally states that school library standards are aligned with content standards of each grade. A school librarian often works with the classroom teacher on gathering materials suitable for the class. However, in the California standards there is no mention of having a qualified credentialed teacher and credentialed librarian or MLIS librarian in the library. MLIS is Master of Library and Information Science. In California librarians who work in schools should have both a teaching credential and a librarian credential. A credentialed librarian is prepared to engage students in higher level thinking skills by teaching students to find, interpret, and organize information. Don't you want someone with these qualifications for your child?

There are standards for for school libraries. The American Association of School Librarians has Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. New Haven School District's own last plan for school libraries went through 2010.

According to the national Common Core Standards starting in 4th grade students will have to have to read the same amount of non fiction text as literary text or fiction.  All 5th grade students will begin to be trained to read to learn by gathering information. Realistically this should begin much before 5th grade. This means reading non fiction.  Readers have to be trained to find and synthesize useful information. By the time students are in the 12th grade 70% of their text reading will have to be informational. A credentialed librarian is most suited by training and skill to provide this service. Just like fiction, all non fiction is not created equal. Plus building up to the 4th and 5th grade a credentialed librarian will identify excellent non fiction for students to read; can give non fiction books talks to all grades even kindergarten; identify non fiction features, such as bold fonts, bullets, and captions; text cues; and graphics (diagrams, cross sections, charts, graphs); Text organizers, index, table of contents, glossary; and teach students about online hoaxes, by using sites such as These should be done long before students reach the 4th and 5th grades.

At this time Alvarado has an excellent duel credentialed librarian, Alisha Valine.  However, she is only at AE 2 days a week and all students do not go to the library. With the requirements of the Common Core Standards it is important to have her full time, 5 days a week.

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