One of the most important things in a classroom is the classroom library. It is probably only second to a passionate teacher.
As English teachers, we must build classroom libraries filled with books that are new, fresh, and exciting to students. But, how do we do that?
Our first step should be to create a library filled with many different genres, abilities, or “doors into reading”. Penny Kittle’s Book Love gives a bunch of recommendations in a huge range of doors to reading. I just kept highlighting and marking options she lists!
How do we fund our classroom libraries? Books are expensive – especially if you are buying tens or hundreds each year. I admit that I am a bibliophile. Look at all these YA books I already own!
And yet, I know I cannot fund a classroom library on my own. Sarah Anderson has a couple of really great blog posts on classroom libraries. She talks about the different methods she used to fill her classroom library. She received books as gifts and set up a fundraising site for books. She had to also set herself a budget – or she would spend every dollar she has on books.
She also encourages students to donate books. They enjoy taking ownership in the classroom library and love when Mrs. Anderson puts their name in a donated by bookplate. They also make suggestions about what should be in the next round of book acquisitions.
What is the value of a classroom library? I don’t think it is something you can calculate or quantify. Sarah Anderson’s students sum it up amazingly.
They say her classroom library gives them access to books, they do not need to worry about due dates, get recommendations and build a relationship with their teacher. These are not things you can count or measure.
The value of a classroom library is that it gives teens an open and available resource, doors through which they can enter the world of reading, and begins to create life-long readers.
The classroom library is essential for every teacher. What do you think should be in a classroom library? How will you build your library? Let’s talk below….