I am the school librarian at a school serving students in grades 6-12. I want to teach the students that reading can be fun and magical when they find the books that speak to them. Students at my school can read, but many do not choose to read when they have free time to fill.
My school draws students from the entire school district and is comprised of a diverse population and a wide range of socio-economic classes.
The program here is a rigorous one, and we teach students to be independent learners. Our focus is STEM, and the students love the access to technology. Students access the daily agenda for each class on-line, and submit much of their work digitally. The library is the heart of the school. As librarian, I collaborate and plan lessons with the teachers to teach students information literacy. The library houses a print collection that offers many types of books to read for pleasure, and an electronic book collection of reference books that students use for research and class assignments. Students are in and out of the library all day using the resources as a whole class, small groups or individually. The library has a motto: All Readers Welcome, and students are encouraged to find the reading material that interests them and brings them pleasure.
The materials for this project were selected specifically for a book group comprised of students in grades 6 to 8. This group meets monthly in the library. It is a voluntary group, but the students are expected to read the selected book for the meetings. Unfortunately, with a small book budget, I am unable to buy the multiple copies needed for a program like this. There is one copy for the library, and students need to visit a public library or buy the book. In the past, only a small percentage of the group would have a chance to finish the book. At the meeting, we discuss the theme, characters, plot points and what we liked and didn't like about the book. This is a time when students can share what they think and feel without anyone assessing them on what they say. No grades are given, and each student can share as little or as much as they like. If each student has a copy of the book, all can contribute to the discussion and benefit from reading and participating in a book group.
When I began this group, I didn't realize it was going to be difficult for students to get a copy of the books that we would read.
To make the group equitable to all, I picked a theme or genre for each monthly meeting so everyone could get a library book they could share with the group. However, I think that the students truly benefit from reading the same book. I believe the discussions that the one book will generate among the group will give the students greater insight into the literature.
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