My students need books to continue growing our classroom library. All of the latest research shows that students read more when they are allowed to choose the books they read in class!
I teach approximately 130 High School Freshman in TX. All of the research says that the best way to get students to be life long readers is to give them choice in what they read. We started doing this last year and I saw students who had never been readers become avid readers who couldn't wait to tell me about their latest book choice. We no longer require students to all read The Odyssey. We want students who love Greek myths to choose that if they wish but other students will have more success choosing to read World War Z. The key to success with this type of teaching is to have a lush classroom library for students to choose from. I want my students to be able have adventures outside their own small community in TX; but also to have literature they will connect to.
By providing an extensive and wide ranging classroom library for students we provide access for all students regardless of income level. All of the latest research shows that students read more and learn more as a result if they can choose the books that they read. Even highly intelligent students have provided testimonial evidence that they read almost nothing they were required to in high school. The reason for this is because they were told "here's this dusty old novel you must read" rather than being allowed to choose what they want to read. By allowing student choice I have seen non-readers become avid readers in my classroom. However, in order for this to be a reality for all students a large classroom library is required. By having many varied levels of books in the classroom it allows all students from beginning English Language Learners to GT students to all have something interesting to read.
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