Book Lovers: Independent Reading to Build Stamina and Appreciation
My students need books that represent their unique individual identities, personalities, and tastes. I selected books that range from sports, music, and history non-fiction to gushy girly "chick-lit". This variety is imperative. Thank you!
My students attend a large urban high school in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the city. My high school services nine different groups homes and many students who live in foster homes. My students are often victims of childhood traumas and live lives in constant transition.
Perhaps because so many of my students experience such frequent personal hardships, they particularly appreciate classroom activities and projects that allow them to exercise choice.
They also appreciate a reliably clean and safe learning environment stocked with meaningful learning materials. This environment allows them to see the presence of a loving adult who willingly invests in them in both an emotional and a material way.
I daresay there is nothing so positively correlated to high engagement in an English classroom than empowering students with the ability to choose what they read. This is why I dedicate class time to and design lessons around independent reading; students are free to choose books that appeal to them from our school library or our classroom library. We intertwine these self-selected texts within all other areas of our class (grammar, vocabulary, the study of literary terms, associations with the texts we read together, etc).
Unfortunately, many of my students have debts with our school district that poverty prevents them from paying and that prevent them from being able to access our school library.
For this reason, I have built a classroom library for them composed of books that I've personally purchased. This library currently consists of about 150 books, half young adult fiction and half adult fiction. I desperately want to add modern young adult fiction so that my students can read about characters and situations that reflect themselves and pique their interest. Your contribution will help me fill out my library and can help students build reading stamina and appreciation.
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