My students need a classroom library, with interesting books that they can check out to read on their own. Many of them have no access to such materials at home.
This town is a small town, far away from everything. The nearest dedicated book store is literally a 3 hour drive away and the books they can get in the nearest town are old and unpopular. By keeping a library in my classroom, I'm working to encourage kids to read every day.
This school is a small school that serves kids from the surrounding 30 miles, give or take.
They are mainly Native American, Navajo to be precise. The nearest town large enough to grocery shop is still an hour's drive away. The town is not as poor as the surrounding towns, but still quite poor. 96% of my students qualify for free lunch. These kids want to read interesting books, same as everyone else.
The books my students have available to them through the library are age-inappropriate. I have good books in my classroom, but they're old, worn out and out of style. I have a few students who have read everything I have at least twice. There is a variety of books on this list, and I hope to grow my collection as time goes on. My supervising teacher, when I was student teaching, had a whole wall covered with books and students loved being in his classroom. There was never any reason for the students to be bored because they could always find something they loved to read. I want my students to have the same opportunities. I want my students to love to read. It's tragic that an English teacher only has one book shelf with fun-to-read books, but that is my predicament. By picking up the habit now, my students will become life-long readers. That's what I want. It's not an activity. It's not a project. It's a life long love affair with literature.
Video games are not evil.
Television is not evil. Both are still less imaginative and engrossing that reading. Yet, many of my children only have access to books when they come to school. Unfortunately, I feel as though I'm letting these kids down because I only have about 200 books available and most of these books are uninteresting, old, old fashioned or worn out. By beginning a classroom library, slowly but surely I will build their love for reading and get them to shut down the TV and games.
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