Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Boy Who was Raised by Librarians (copy)

According to the landmark Perry Study released in 2004, sponsored by High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, children read to before they enter kindergarten will make more money, retain their jobs, and commit less crime than their peers who were unread to.

The study, began in 1962 by the late David P. Weikart, followed 123 African-American toddlers of low income in the Ypsilanti, Michigan, area for four decades. They were broken into two groups, one group of 58 were given one-on-one reading time with trained caregivers, while the other group was simply observed. The staff tested their abilities every year from age 3 to 11, and subsequently at ages 14, 15, 19, 27, and 40.

From my librarian point of view, it excites me to learn those who were nurtured by books made $50,000 more over their 40-year lifespan than the unread-to toddlers. Just think of the possibility, folks!

Imagine my surprise when a fellow librarian handed me The Boy Who was Raised by Librarians by Carla Morris and illustrated by Brad Sneed. This delightful picture book is aimed at children who can sit still and listen to a story, for it’s a story of possibility.

Little Melvin, our hero, lives at the Livingston Public Library. Well, not really, but it feels like it because he spends “lots and lots of time there.” At this particular library there are three friendly and well-read librarians, the same as one would find at any local public library.

As a modern day librarian, I’m thrilled these three drawn librarians are a little hipper. It is a real problem in our profession, as we want to be taken seriously, but the dang bun, cat-eyed glasses, and finger poised at the lips is what people tend to visualize.

I digress. Melvin likes these librarians and on his quest for knowledge he knows they are ready, willing, and able to help him in his many pursuits. As he grows older, we see him progress through seventh grade, the librarians really get a chance to strut their stuff by filing his baseball card collection, naming and organizing his bug collection, and finding his inner eggplant for the school play.

Every year a child like Melvin enters a local public library and begins his/her path to learning. As librarians, parents, and adults let us be ready to show them the world of possibilities.

20 comments:

iliana said...

This is great. I have a couple of young cousins who I think will be getting this book for Christmas!

jenclair said...

First, thanks for the information about the differences in children who were read to and those who were not. I find those statistics exciting! We aren't talking about children who actually became big readers themselves, but those who were read to, those whose imaginations were stimulated, whose created juices received stimulation. I'm off to check on this study!

Second, thanks for the recommendation of a new title for my granddaughter!

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Australia,

Now THAT is my idea of Utopia. I read everything as a child, in a house with thousands of books.

Maybe that's why I write them now!

Maggie said...

Iliana - I'm so glad to be able to help with the Christmas shopping. The book is a picture book aimed at the 5/6/7 year-old listeners, but it has a story. Let's say it is more complex than a ABC/123 rhyming book.

Jenclair - I was so thrilled to have found the study. All I had to go on was someone on TV mentioning if one read to their child prior to k-school they would make $50,000 more than a child which waited until kindercare. This survey is used to fund Head Start programs, but it suits my purpose, too. Here is the web page...http://www.highscope.org/Content.asp?ContentId=282

Maggie said...

Thanks for stopping by Mr. McMahon and affirming the study! :D

Visit more often, and I do like your blog. The photographs are inspiring.

Diane said...

I was fortunate to have been read to, and developed a love of books at an early age. I pity those folks who have never discovered the wonders of a good book . . .

Maggie said...

Diane - It seems like a natural part of growing up, but reading to little ones is a new idea for some. Dolly Pardon has a wonderful program (I think it's called Reading Train) where she will send a book a month to newborns until they reach kindercare age. Sixty books! All you have to do is get a ob/gyn, who looks after the mother and child, to sign off. I tried to start that in our little town, but learned our girls opt-out of such expensive medical care; they prefer to show at the local emergency room the day of delievery.

Gentle Reader said...

I have to say, I don't know any bun and cat-eye-glass wearing librarians any more, so I'm sure that stereotype is frustrating! Most of the librarians I know are smart and hip :)

This sounds like a great book--I'll have to get it for my kids. Thanks!

Maggie said...

Yep, Gentle Reader, those people are still out there! I found the coolest gadget on the internet where you can point a sound box at kids and it will shush for you! :D

Lisa said...

Maggie, I absolutely love this book! I just purchased it for our academic library. We have a large elementary ed. dept., and the students have to read 100 children's books as part of one of their classes. I thought this would be perfect! It's a great story with beautiful drawings.

Maggie said...

Oh, I'm so glad you like it Lisa. I like the fact that Melvin grows up to be a librarian. I've nutured some prospects over the years, and I've still got my figures crossed. ;D

Oh, and this is the study I mentioned in the "Como Blues" post. Perry Study through High/Scope, just google and check out the power point presentation.

Clair said...

I will have to look for this book at the library.

Maggie said...

Hope you and yours like it Clair, and thanks for stopping by.

Jill said...

Maggie,
This book sounds fascinating. I was read to when I was a child and firmly believe that it has made a huge impact on my life. Because of this impact, I've read to my 8-month old daughter every night since she was born. I've enjoyed it so much and so strongly believe in the benefits of reading to your kids that I recently started a blog about reading to kids. http://wellreadchild.blogspot.com I'm so glad there is evidence out there that reading to children makes such a difference. This book is now on my list of must reads. Thanks for posting about it!

Deana said...

I think it is common sense that a child read to will do better in life so I am glad they released this study.

Maggie said...

Jill, I'm very proud of you! What a great idea for a blog!

I had a parent/patron who checkouted books for her unborn baby and read to her belly. Her child is now one of the smartest kids I know. So, keep up the good work!

Yes Deana, and the study was released to promote Head Start funding.

Clair said...

I read this book and enjoyed it...I think that I will read it to my students sometime next week.

Maggie said...

What a great idea, Clair! :D

Anonymous said...

I checked out "The Boy Who was Raised by Librarians" from the library Saturday. As I sat down on the city bus to go home, I was shifting around my books. A kid across the isle saw the book. Her eyes almost popped out of her head. She moved over to next to me. I read the book to her (very quickly to finish it before my stop). She loved it. I thought it was too librarianish, but that fourth-grader (whom I'd never seen before) was charmed by it.

Maggie said...

What a nice story Anon! I bet she will remember your kindness for years to come. :D