Curious, enthusiastic, and woke - these are the upcoming 11th grade students at my school.
I call my students the "future change-makers of America" because they have the desire, determination, and lived experience to become advocates for themselves and their communities.
My responsibility is to help them develop the tools that they will need to do so. While my students are lively, creative, and critical thinkers, many of them lack the fluent literacy skills that they will need as readers and writers to go on and change the world.
They also, unfortunately, lack access to books to read for pleasure. The positive correlation between reading for pleasure and improved literacy skills is well-documented by the American Library Association; however, many if not most of our students lack easy access to diverse reading materials. The school building does not have a library, and most of our students do not live near a public library.
Many of my students do not have access to many books at home, and do not live near a library; additionally, the school building does not have a central library.
Our goal is to have a robust, diverse classroom library in which every student at every reading level will be able to read a book that excites, engages, and challenges them.
Reading for pleasure is a key ingredient in improving literacy skills, moving students towards college readiness, preparation to participate in society, and a lifetime of reading for pleasure as well as learning.
This year, we will engage in independent reading twice a week during advisory periods and three times a week in English class, with the goal of every student in 11th grade reading at least 10 books of their choice during the year. As such, we need a diverse classroom library that appeals to students from different cultures, with a wide variety of interests.
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