For students with intellectual disabilities and language delays, there should be a focus on oral language. Teachers should ensure that students with adequate levels of oral language have phonological awareness. Students who have good oral language but have trouble in reading should receive help in decoding to develop automaticity in reading. Students who have no trouble reading but have difficulty with comprehension; teachers should focus on building comprehension skills. Background knowledge, mental representation, comprehension monitoring, integration, making inference and elaborative interrogation are all processes that are essential in developing text comprehension skills. The idea of a developmental sequence should be used to promote literacy.
In selecting book material, the Media specialist should focus on the curriculum needs of the school, educational significance, integrity, permanence, artistic quality or literary style, and recommendation from professional personnel and sources. Software for the selection of book material should also be used appropriately. Teachers should also be involved in the deciding what material to stock the library with. Less attention should be given to general selection journals, and more to teacher committee reviews and specialized selection guides. Professional review journals include The ALAN review, Barnes and Noble, Book Links, Book Reporter, BookReview.com, Booklist online, Bookwire, Boston Book Review, Reading Teacher, Children’s catalog, and Educational Review. Reference materials, such as encyclopedias, provide knowledge in both general and subject-specific areas. The reputation or significance of the author is frequently used as sorting criteria. The library media specialist should communicate to the faculty and staff the purpose and scope of the selection policy. The library media specialist should also seek recommendations from parents, teachers, and students. New books added to the library should be announced.
Access to information technology that is integrated into the curriculum is critical to an effective modern school library media center.
The shift of the world from an industrial to a n information and technology-rich society, has created an environment persistent change for school library media specialists. A media specialist should use technology to enhance learning. Technology is meant to only change the learning experience of the student, not entirely or partially replace the teacher. Technology creates more opportunities for interactions with the faculty. The interactions opportune by technology do not always lead to information literacy levels. Library media specialists should work with teachers to improve the research process of both the students and teachers. A virtual presence enables the library media specialist to provide continued access to the collection by students, teachers, and administration they serve. Since the library cannot be opened for 24 hours a week, a virtual presence caters for those who wish to read and study beyond library closing time or the regular school day. An online presence could also be extended into a blog, and a section for students to write reviews about books they have read. The interactive nature of the web could also be used to help students discover interesting books they might enjoy from other students. Students also discover common interest that they could unite to grow and foster.
A collaborative approach to information literacy and education is essential. Research shows that test scores rise in both elementary and middle schools as library media specialists and teachers work together. Scores also rise with the amount of time the library media spends as in-service trainers for other teachers. Library media specialists should therefore plan more cooperatively with teachers, help identity material for teachers, teach information literacy skills to students, provide in-service training to teachers, and provide and manage the computer network through which the library media program reaches beyond its own walls to classrooms, labs, and offices. Leadership involvement on the part of the Library media specialist has a strong impact on whether or not the library media specialist is working closely with teachers and students. Higher levels of cooperation results from: meeting regularly with the school administration, serving on standards and curriculum committees, working with faculty at school-wide staff meetings, and meeting with library media staff. The library media specialist could also try to help and mentor new (and especially young) students.
In order to motivate the students to visit the media center, the library media specialist should initiate special programs like author visits and book clubs. A collection should also be provided that engages students at all reading levels in voluntary, independent reading. Students should be encouraged to read in their own interest and guidance should be provided in the selection of independent reading materials. The library media specialist should maintain an active and productive learning environment. The environment should be psychologically safe and conductive to learning. It should also be dully comfortable, especially as regards to heat and lighting. In extremely hot or cold places, there must be an air-conditioner to keep the temperature at a comfortable constant. The library media specialist should create engaging bulletin boards and displays of students’ artistic, creative and literal works like poetry, sort stories, and drawings.
Studies show that children tend to read more the more the number of books happens to be around, regardless of the child’s particular reading habits. Therefore, parents who want their children to study more should create a studious environment at home by at least having books, magazines, or journals around. It is also important for parents to show interest in academia and books, because children generally model after adults around them, especially parents and siblings. The parent could go to the library themselves, or casually enquire what book has lately captured their child’s interest and imagination. Showing support for book clubs and respecting the child’s reading time is also important, because it hardly helps for the child to be disturbed and have too much work or chores to do. If the child is tired or busy throughout, they are less likely to read and are more likely to sleep, watch TV, or play video games. Parents should also give the child time and space to read independently, and therefore not emphasize too much on academic work, content and performance.
The internet can also be a valuable resource for learning and reading, but should be used with caution and adult guidance, especially for younger children. It is generally better if children younger than eleven relied on reference books rather than the internet, if there is no adult around to monitor their activities on the internet. Children are more likely to end up playing video games, on social media or watching videos than reading on a computer. If the child is to develop a reading culture, he or she must be exposed to the wonder and gratification of reading at a younger age than they are exposed to excessive TV, video games, and other less desirable activities.
Of course, a child’s basic needs need to be met and fulfilled before they can read or study. Therefore the atmosphere at home must offer physical as well as psychological safety. The child must be in good health and having healthy meals.
Ultimately, the performance of the school library media specialist depends on whether the school administration is willing to acknowledge the professional duties of the media specialist and their importance to the school.
Buckley, A. S. (2011). LIBRARY MEDIA SPECIALISTS AS LITERACY LEADERS. Research paper, University of Central Missouri. Retrieved October 22, 2014, from http://centralspace.ucmo.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10768/21/ABuckle_LibraryScience.pdf?sequence=1
Callison, D. (1990). A Review of the Research Related to School Library Media Collections: Part I. SLMQ, 19. Retrieved October 22, 2014, from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/edchoice/SLMQ_ResearchRelatedSchoolLibMediaCollections_InfoPower.pdf
Johnson, D., & Blair, A. (2003). The Importance and Use of Student Self-Selected Literature to Reading Engagement in an Elementary Reading Curriculum. Reading Horizons, 3. Retrieved October 22, 2014, from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol43/iss3/3
Lance, K. C., Rodney, M. J., & Hamilton-Penell, C. (2000). How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards: The Second Colorado Study. Retrieved from http://www.lrs.org/documents/lmcstudies/CO/execsumm.pdf