My students are from a rural farming community in Northern California. Despite the poor socioeconomic status of this community, with 69.2% of my students being considered socioeconomically disadvantaged, and the challenges that ensue, these students are determined and resilient. They show up each day ready to learn and simply need the support and resources to make their dreams a reality. These students deserve to have a classroom library that continues to grow with them – a library full of high-quality, culturally relevant books that are chosen specifically with them in mind.
I have had the privilege of witnessing the positive impact of independent reading on my students in just a few short months and it has not only met but has far exceeded my expectations for our culturally relevant classroom library.
I have watched these students light up when they start reading a book they connect with and I have recognized the importance of having a classroom library full of a variety of books that open new doors, provoke deep thought and imagination, mirror each reader holding the pages, and feed a love of learning. This project will only help further enrich my students’ experiences with the printed word.
The culturally relevant, paperback books selected for this project are a result of the success of my initial attempt as a first-year teacher at creating a culturally relevant classroom library and fostering a love of reading. Through the purposeful allocation of time for independent reading and the opportunity to individually select books with my students in mind, anti-readers turned into avid readers and avid readers fell in love with new authors and genres. As a result, our current classroom library simply does not have enough books to keep up with the increasing demand; hence, the creation of this project.
The books for this project were hand-selected for my students based on continued student requests and high-demand authors.
These books will support my students in their love of reading by exposing them to new experiences and perspectives, allowing them to continue to explore the world in different ways, and inspiring them to share their own stories.
The addition of contact paper to this project (for use as book covers) will help extend the life of the paperback books and allow the books to reach an increasing number of students with the endless benefits of reading. "The more one reads, the better one reads. The more one reads, the more knowledge of words and language one acquires… The more one reads, the more one learns about the people and happenings of our world. This increased volume of reading is essential” for our students and the planet at large (Allington 2017). Thank you for your support!
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