It’s been thrilling for me to be part of the Changing Results for Young Readers (CR4YR) initiative, a network of educators with a shared goal of improving life chances for children. CR4YR is making a big difference – not only in the lives of the kids, but also in the lives of those who are changing their approaches, and thinking about new ways of teaching and learning.
As Maureen Dockendorf, BC’s Superintendent of Reading and the inspirational leader of the initiative, says, “We’re all on this journey to keep learning, it never ends.”
Through CR4YR, we’ve been exposed to latest research and thinking about social-emotional learning, self-regulated learning, inquiry process and innovative teaching practices. Rich, professional learning.
We’re also exposed to the modelling and wisdom of a collaborative supportive network which teaches the power of generosity, empathy and connections. In an interconnected and trusting environment – a healthy network – we rely on relationships and our willingness to grow and learn, and support that growth and learning in others.
CR4YR is entering its second year, building on the strength and development of the first 12 months, and researcher Sharon Jerosky is studying the impact of the initiative. At the recent CR4YR symposium in Richmond, she spoke of what she is learning from the first year data set when she asks the question: What practices are associated with improved literacy? Here are some of the themes that are associated with the success of CR4YR:
- Ensuring the child has one-to-one reading support
- Developing a relationship with, and getting to know, the child
- Connecting reading to the child’s passions and interests, to make reading meaningful for the child
- Giving the child a strong sense of control by providing choices and personalization
- Providing a strong sense of safety and support for the child
It struck me that these practices align with the practices of a library: one-on-one support that provides choices tailored to the individual, offered in a safe and supportive environment.
And I got to thinking about how libraries support the collective effort of improving life chances for kids and life experiences for all members of our society. Engaged libraries are a key partner in tackling societal goals like improving life chances for kids. Librarians care, connect, facilitate, teach and expand the reach of the classroom. They support curiosity and foster the joy of reading for all learners.
They do this work every day, making a difference one person at a time. And they do this work in a friendly, supportive, welcoming environment with a wealth of resources to support choices and interests.
Improving life chances for kids is an enormous societal goal. As the CR4YR collaborative approach makes clear, it takes collective effort to have collective impact. Libraries have a key role to play in helping their communities achieve that goal.
What happens in the library – whether a school library or a public library – matters.