My 9th grade students attend a small high school in rural Pennsylvania. We are surrounded by the beautiful Endless Mountains and many of my students love to spend time outdoors. It's a small community and many of the students are actively involved in the arts and sports. We've really worked as an English department to foster a love of reading in our students through independent, choice reading in our classrooms. One of our favorite activities that we planned for each fall was a Book Tasting in the library, where students could 'taste' the new books bought for the year.
Unfortunately, through furloughs our librarian has had to take on classes and the library is only open one period a day; as a result, circulation was down 55% last year.
Our students are frustrated by the lack of access to books, the library, and our librarian who has been outstanding at selecting new books for the library. We've also had to cut the Book Tasting as it's too much to do with the additional class-load.
I chose fiction and non-fiction young adult books for my 9th grade students. Many of the books currently in my classroom library are geared more towards middle school, as that's what I previously taught. The books I have are older and not in great shape; they've been culled from rummage sales, library book sales, and from my own collection.
There's nothing quite like cracking open a brand new book - I want to share that with my students.
Every Friday we will do "book talks" where I will introduce a new book, talk a little about the author, and maybe read a little of the first chapter. Book talks are a great way to get students to preview books and usually this ends up creating a waiting list for the book. I'd love to have these new books to add to my library and book talks.
It's unfortunate and frustrating that our school library is not accessible for my students, but I want to try and do what I can to make sure that they can get their hands on books and keep them reading.
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