My students are a diverse mix of curious seekers who want to explore the worlds, the culture, the relationships, and the lessons that books offer. My students know that reading is a personal art, and they are ready to perfect their craft. Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle offer a powerfulperspective of books, one that reflects my students' passion for reading: "We imagine a book as we read; we enter a world, direct the movie of what happens, and imagine the characters as living, breathing human beings. We fall in love, we experience loss, we grapple with universal human struggles. The world opens and we fall in."
I love that my students understand the power of stories.
They know the magic a book holds: life lessons, companions, solace, and adventure. More than a learning opportunity, my students reach for books because they offer a much needed break from the constant "bing" of their phones. Books offer a place for my students to rest and "fall in," and I love that they are insightful enough to put this knowledge into action.
These books will continue to enhance the diverse and accessible classroom library that I strive to create. My classroom library is a place that my students really enjoy. I pull books from my classroom library for First Chapter Fridays to engage student interest (Yes, even high school students enjoy me reading aloud for 5-10 minutes), students check out books from our classroom library to read independently- both in and out of the classroom, and students conduct mini-book talks on the books they choose in hopes to inspire their classmates to read it next. My classroom library is teeming with activity and conversation about books that reflect my student's lives.
I've handed the reigns over to my students, and THEY, not me, have created a list of books they want to see in their classroom library.
As a result, the books in my shopping cart range from fiction to nonfiction, from fantasy to social justice, and from historical fiction to poetry and sports. Stocking my classroom shelves with titles that speak to their personal interests will help students continue to enjoy independent reading time, and, more importantly, value the rich lessons books can offer.
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