The Missouri Reader Vol. 42, Issue 1 - Page 53

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interest, engaging books to read from my room. As I reflected, I realized that while I do have a large library, not a lot of my books are super high interest books. They were mainly books I found at Goodwill or that have been graciously donated to me from other means. Now that I have been teaching for some years, these books are loved and worn. I'd like to add some more to my collection so that kids can (and want) to take books home every night if they wish. I've compiled a wish list for them, based on a survey I gave them of their favorite books. These books range anywhere from $2.00-$45.00 for some sets. If you would like to donate, please follow the link below, and know that these books will be put into the hands of very deserving, loving students. Thanks for listening!

The response was overwhelming! I was floored by the generosity of so many thoughtful people in my life. I received over 50 books to add to my classroom library. Now I continually add to my wish list based on what I see and hear students are interested in. I usually buy about $25-$50 worth of books each month to keep my collection new and fresh. These books come from Scholastic book orders so I can use the bonus points for even more books. I add four or five new books each week to the classroom library to continue to generate interest and excitement.

Since I constantly update my classroom library, I feel like I cannot keep the books on my shelves anymore! I let my students check them out and take them home each night. And astonishingly, they do! They even ask if they can take two or three home at a time! Here are some comments from some of my third and fourth graders about our new class library:

I read more now because I like chapter books because they are kind of challenging for me. I’m reading more now at this school because I’m allowed to check out books.

● I like that we can choose any book we want. At my old school, my teacher picked out my books. I like that here we can pick out our own books.

● I like to check out books here because the books are very interesting, and they help me learn how to read. I’ve been reading more books and they help me learn things I didn’t know.

● I like the books in here because it looks like the whole room is filled with books.

Their words are music to my ears! It is so refreshing to hear students have a passion for books, especially for students who once used to be reluctant readers. Routman (2003) lamented that “Too many students are reading because they have to, not because they want to” (p. 37). Yet, in my experience, I have found that any student can turn into a child who wants to read if only they are given

books that speak to them!

References

Routman, R. (2003). Reading essentials: The specifics you need to teach reading well. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Theresa Bates is a Title 1 Reading Teacher at Confluence Academy in St. Louis. She has held that position for two years. Before that, she was a second-grade teacher for four years. She is currently attending Missouri State University, pursuing a Master's degree in Literacy.

Make your books fly off your shelves!!!