My students are readers, though many of them denied it at first. I teach mostly seniors in a rural high school; however, our school is quite diverse and often has many issues that inner city schools do. Many of my students came to me in the beginning of the year as non-readers, but as we've developed more of a reading life both in and out of the classroom, they're starting to identify as readers who are changed by the books they read.
My students are learning the power of story, and what it means to get lost in the pages of a book that speaks to them.
They come from such different backgrounds, and desire to see themselves reflected in the pages of the stories they read. In our classroom, we focus the year by talking about perspective and what it means to see through someone else's eyes. Throughout the year, they have become eager to connect with and relate to others. By finding themselves in the stories of someone they connect with (or are sometimes different from) my students are learning empathy and growing not only as readers, but as people ready to make change.
Many of my students utilize our school library, but the majority of them prefer to browse my classroom shelves, often asking for recommendations. My students know they should have a book in hand at all times, so they read at a fairly fast rate, and constantly rotate their independent novels. But, if the books they want aren’t on my shelves because they are checked out, they often won’t wait to pick them up and just move on or through other reads. Over the course of the last few years, I've noticed that my students gravitate towards books that they deeply connect too, and these are the reads they desire.
I want my students to be able to see themselves in the pages of the books they read, which is why I want to diversify my classroom library.
Young Adult books are booming in the publishing industry, and as the industry fills with more diverse authors, more of my students are finding themselves represented in the pages of books which encourages them.
My students are diverse--in culture, race, and life experiences--and they deserve stories that speak to their diversity but also allow them to empathize with others. Though my classroom library includes a plethora of books, as YA literature is ever growing, I cannot keep up with the amount of newly diverse books on the market. This project will fill up our classroom library with high interest texts that my students are constantly asking to read.
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