I'm building something.
It may look like I'm building a classroom library. But it's more than that. So much more.
It means so much more now. The stakes are higher. The innocence that was there in elementary, gone. The reality of their lives, with all it's struggles and heartbreaks, ever present. But there is hope. And new learning. And new meaning. I may not be able to control what is going on at home, but I can provide an experience of literacy that is fun, exciting and nurtures a love of reading. I can help them make connections to characters that display loyalty, sacrifice, perseverance and how lessons that we read help shape who we are and want to become.
What we do for elementary kids, introduce books, make it fun, do quick read alouds, make crafts, are so much more VITAL in middle school. These kids need the newest books. The prettiest covers. Education and literacy can and does change lives. Since July, we have so many students reading. Sharing. Having book conversations. Recently, during one of these conversations, several students said they wanted more historical fiction. Boys will literally say, "If you find a football book, can you get it?"
Students make different bookmarks for their current reading each 6 weeks
Students preview all new books which are usually student requests
Ask your students to pick books for your classroom library. Which books would they like to see? And get them. Find a way. I am constantly at Half Price Books & Barnes & Noble. I am also always ordering books from Scholastic.
They have such amazing deals on so many books. Barnes and Noble can offer some amazing deals as well. My go-to is Amazon and Ebay right now. I am constantly looking for the lowest price for hardcovers. Recently I wrote a grant for our grade level for more books. I also helped my sister write a grant as well for her third grade class. We were awarded about $1000 each for our classroom libraries. And what did we do with that grant?
Above picture for a third grade classroom funded by a grant
Create attractive displays
Bookstands are $1 at the Dollar Tree
Students actually asked for books on makeup & fashion & other things
Visit the bookstore OFTEN
You never know what will show up in the clearance section. I can find trilogies in hardbacks for $2 each! Usually, if I already have the book, I raffle off the copy to students.
Make your classroom library inviting
Preview your books with purpose
Picture on left is geared for K-5 while picture on right is geared for grades 6 & up
When we get in a new stack of books, or need to preview our classroom library for books, we do so with the purpose of taking note of which titles we actually want to read. Thus, kids make a #bookstack of books they want to read throughout the year. This can be updated every 6 weeks or every quarter. Kids love this activity because most don't know what your classroom library holds. Also, it's a good reminder of the books they haven't gotten to yet.
Overall, we all long to go on an adventure, learn to be a better person and help our world become a better place.
As teachers, we can help our students do that.