Books and Education Senior Researcher Susan Neumann launches groundbreaking classroom library tool as students struggle to access literacy-rich environments

Teacher survey highlights inequality and financial obstacles to building an interactive and effective classroom library

WashingtonAnd the August 17 2022 /PRNewswire/ – First Book, the largest online network of educators serving children in need, in partnership with a literacy expert and educational researcher Susan Newman, launches a new tool to assess and enhance quality and fairness in classroom libraries. The Literacy Rich Classroom Library Checklist provides a complete assessment of the classroom library book collection and design features to maximize student participation and ensure the inclusion of fair resources that reflect the needs and interests of children in need. Classroom libraries that achieve their full potential in supporting student learning take into account the width of the physical space, the quantity, quality and variety of books provided, and the frequency of use.

By guiding this innovative assessment tool and accompanying its launch, First Book publishes the results of a new survey of more than 1,200 teachers nationwide. This study reveals the costly and time-consuming process of building a literacy-rich environment, considering that almost all teachers (96%) are responsible for providing some or all of the books and learning materials in their classroom libraries. On average, teachers pay $346 Out of their own pockets for books and materials in a typical year, it takes nearly half of teachers (47%) more than 6 years to build their classroom library. For many, these classroom libraries have been decimated as teachers have provided books to remedy students’ limited access to physical books as they transition to distance learning during the pandemic. As teachers look to rebuild and enhance their classroom libraries, especially those in low-income communities and Title I schools, it is imperative to assess the literacy-rich nature of these libraries to offer a fair range of resources to engage and nurture our minds. Younger readers in low-income communities.

“As we emerge from a pandemic that has closed libraries and cut off access to quality books, classroom libraries will be a cornerstone in re-igniting students’ passion for reading,” Susan NewmanProfessor of Teaching and Learning at New york university. “There is a science to creating a classroom library that expands beyond just having books. Using the Literacy Rich Classroom Library Checklist Guide, we have provided a research-driven roadmap for educators to foster an environment that is inviting students, offering high-quality books and resources and develop a love of reading that will lead to equal educational outcomes and be the basis for future success.”

This tool addresses the harmful spread of book deserts and provides teachers and school leaders with a resource to increase the impact of classroom resources. According to the US Department of Education, there are 2.5 million children enrolled in areas where there are no school libraries. The pandemic has increased pressure on student and community access to books, exacerbating student participation and reading proficiency. These survey results represent a classroom library case for First Book members who have access to books at deeply discounted prices and are therefore more likely to have a wider class library than non-First Book members who work in Title One classrooms. Even among this population, the survey showed that 30% of classroom libraries do not meet the Rich Literacy Guidelines and teachers currently see no way to meet them. These shortcomings are particularly evident in books in terms of access to diverse books, with one-third of teachers reporting that they do not consider their book collections to be adequate representation of diverse cultures. Despite access to free, low-cost books through the First Book Marketplace, without an adequate tool for evaluating book collections, even teachers with extensive classroom libraries overestimated the quality and effectiveness of their classroom library until displaying this checklist.

“We commend the courageous efforts of educators who recognize that it is essential to build a classroom library that delivers 10-20 books per student that reflect the diverse and unique stories of their students, and that it is fundamental to overcoming students’ reading level gaps, particularly in the low-income communities they face,” Says Kyle ZimmerPresident and CEO, First Book. “The fact that it takes nearly a third of our teachers over 10 years $346 A year of their own money to build their own classroom libraries highlights the urgency of our mission to provide access to high-quality, low-cost, free books to support education equality.”

Developing the Literacy Rich Classroom Library Checklist enables teachers to self-assess classrooms and ensure the best in diverse, high-quality resources that support libraries and support more equitable education for all. The Complete First Book Accelerator Resource supports the 96 percent of teachers who have personally funded some or all of their classroom library books by offering a crowdsourcing toolkit that includes insights on self-advocacy for classroom funding.

As a result of this research, First Book will fund 200 classroom libraries across the country in an effort to enhance students’ access to diverse, high-quality books and support teachers who have gone above and beyond to create and fund rich literacy development. environments.

The Literacy Rich Classroom Library Checklist is the product of a comprehensive research effort by First Book and Susan Newman. The quantitative and qualitative undertaking included a literature review, field research, and a nationwide survey of teachers to refine and improve the Classroom Library Assessment Tool, incorporating feedback and insights from teachers serving children in need in Title I schools. The resulting resources were already well received by the teachers in our survey who used them to evaluate their classroom libraries. The survey indicated that 78% of teachers found the checklist to be very useful or extremely helpful in determining what makes the classroom library or reading area “literally rich.” These free resources and comprehensive search results can be found at

About the first book
founded in Washington DCEstablished in 1992 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is a leader in educational justice. Over its 29-year history, First Book has distributed more than 225 million books and educational resources, with a retail value of more than $2 billion. First Book believes that education provides children in need with the best path out of poverty. First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by providing its network of more than 550,000 registered teachers, librarians, after-school program leaders and others who serve children in need with millions of new, high-quality books and educational and essential resources free and affordable. Needs Items by the award-winning nonprofit e-commerce site First Book Marketplace. The First Book Network includes the largest and fastest growing community of formal and informal teachers serving children in need.

First Book also expands the scope and depth of the field of education through a range of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its own research initiative, and First Book Accelerator, which brings best-in-class research-based strategies to the classroom via resources Teacher relevant and usable. First Book Impact Funds are aimed at supporting areas of need, such as rural communities or increasing diversity in children’s books. For more information on First Book, please visit

Around Susan Newman
Susan B Newman He is a professor of teaching and learning at New york university Specializing in Childhood Education and Early Literacy Development. Previously, she was a professor at University of Michigan He served as the US Assistant Secretary of State for Elementary and Secondary Education. In her role as Assistant Secretary, she established Early Reading First, the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program and was responsible for all activities in Title I Elementary and Secondary Law. I served on Irish Republican Army Board of Directors (2001-2003), several nonprofit boards of directors, and served as associate editor of Reading Research Quarterly (2011-2018), the flagship ILA research journal. Her research and teaching interests include early childhood policy, curriculum, early reading education, and third grade primary school for children living in poverty. Newman is the recipient of two Lifetime Achievement Awards for research in literacy development, is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame, and a fellow of the American Association for Educational Research. She has written over 100 articles, and authored and edited 12 books.

Media contact:
Ian Kinison
[email protected]
(603) 568-0558

The source is the first book


Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: