“Mrs. N, I’ve finished another book!”. I love these words, and our classroom library is the heart of my ELA classes. We read every day, and I get so excited when when students request specific titles. Most of my students come to school already behind academically. We work hard throughout the school year to be sure they get caught up and/or surpass their end of the year goals.
Through their efforts to succeed, one thing remains constant, they love to read, especially when they get to choose their own book.
They are eager to read the next great book, and I want to be able to provide it. Since I started to diversify my bookshelf last year, students are amazed that there are novels out there about people like them, with heroes who look like them, and feel like them. They say every day we want more. The other teachers in my department are sending students to my classroom on a daily basis to find a book they would like to read.
The diverse and varied nature of the titles will provide an opportunity for students to find themselves within the books on the shelves of the classroom. All too often our bookshelves are white-washed offering no options for students of color, Latino students, Asian, LGBTQ+ students, female students. If I want to encourage reading for the sheer pleasure of reading, I have to offer literature that students actually WANT to read. EVERY title on the list was selected by a student I currently teach. These are books they want. These are books, they come to me wanting to know if I have Full Cicada Moon yet? Or have I gotten a copy of Solo by Kwame Alexander? I want my room to be a place where students know all they all the GREAT BOOKS live.
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