I teach fourth grade in southern Maine. Students in my classroom do not have access to the books recommended for the current non-fiction reading unit because our school does not have the funds to purchase them. In order to reach the needs of all the very broad range of learners in my class, I need multiple texts for each student at their reading level. I have scoured local libraries to provide a few books, but they are outdated and insufficient. When students are doing research, reading material needs to be accessible and accurate. I would like to use the funds from DonorsChoose to build a research library for 4th grade that is accessible to a broad range of readers, up to date and durable so it can be used for at least several more classes to come.
Our small school district took on the impressive task of adopting a challenging and comprehensive Teacher's College Curriculum several years ago. They knew it was important to provide the elementary school teachers and students with the most up-to-date and rigorous materials available. It was not, however, feasible to also purchase every trade book to accompany these units of study. I am finding, with the non-fiction units of study, especially the current one I am about to launch on research, that a lack of up to date non-fiction books is problematic.
The donations to this project will help spark my students' interest in research and sustain their ability to grow as critical thinkers.
Reading non-fiction is challenging and the skills required to be an effective researcher are very different than those required to read literature. Our literature libraries can contain 1 or 2 copies of a title and that title can sustain a child's interest for quite some time. Non-fiction books by nature are short. A student can sometimes finish one in 20 minutes and yet it costs just as much if not more than a fiction title.
Furthermore, non-fiction libraries need to be updated regularly as research informs changes. I visit the school and the local library to provide the students with resources but much of what I find is inaccurate and is on average between 10 and 30 years old.
I hope you will consider donating to our books and magazine fund to provide students with up to date non-fiction reading materials.
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