My students need more than 45 books from "Three Cups of Tea" to "Hatshepsut" to help them develop as readers, thinkers, and global citizens!
In a world where print is all around us all the time, literacy is the most critical element in a child's education. However, as a teacher new to the elementary setting, I must build a classroom library from nothing. My students deserve to learn about their world from engaging and diverse texts!
My students attend a public Title I elementary school in a small town in the heart of rural California.
Title I means that 70% of them receive free or reduced price lunches which is a standard measure of poverty in schools. In my class of 27 kids, 20 of them receive free/reduced lunch (74%). In addition, 22 are members of minority groups (82%), 5 are English Language Learners (20%), and 2 are students with disabilities (7%). The combination of poverty, disability, and a language barrier has presented my students with significant academic challenges. Last year on the state test, 15 of them, or 56%, scored Not Proficient in English/Language Arts. This is because most of them read below grade level.
My students need more than 45 books to help them develop as readers, thinkers, and global citizens! The book list I have chosen is a combination of both fiction and nonfiction. I made a conscious effort to choose stories and biographies that will capture and sustain their interest while at the same time giving them the opportunity to learn about different people, places, and experiences in the world they live in.
I made it a point to choose books that are relevant to my students, so that they can relate and learn from each one. The list includes several books by Hispanic authors, stories about other kids their age facing common challenges, stories about athletes, leaders, and others overcoming adversity, diverse accounts of the experience of being an immigrant, classic stories with which everyone should be familiar, and stories and biographies from many different time periods and cultures.
In order for my kids to catch up to their more advantaged peers, they need to achieve more than a year's worth of reading growth this year.
The most effective way to do this is through practice. I can't expect them to read constantly unless I provide texts at their levels that they actually WANT to read. The book list I have chosen is a combination of interesting, relatable stories and biographies that will keep them engaged in achieving our goal and will also educate them as global citizens.
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