05 Jun Slice of Life: This One Bears Repeating! #SOL18 #itsallaboutthebooks
This week we received an email from a school asking our advice. This school will be adding a first-grade section next year. This school wants advice on how to get a classroom library set up now for the teacher and students arriving in September.
Do we need to write that sentence again? We think it bears repeating.
This school is planning to create a classroom library so it is ready for the teacher who will be hired for this new first-grade section.
We cannot count the number of times we have walked into the classroom of a new teacher or a newly added classroom to find no books. We cannot recount all the stories of teachers photocopying books because their classroom was not provisioned with any books. It is the rare classroom that seems to come with books. Richard Allington has questioned this for some time, “It has long puzzled me why the adequacy of school libraries and classroom book collections are not a key topic in teacher labor agreement negotiations” (2000). Books are key instructional tools. Schools need to prioritize the funding of purchasing books so all students can access the tools they need to be successful.
The story of this school warms our hearts. It makes us hopeful. We all need to continue to advocate for books in school libraries, bookrooms and classroom libraries. Books need to be an included budget line. Books need to be planned for each year. Books are the heart and soul of teaching literacy. Teachers need books to inspire lifelong readers. If more schools follow suit … maybe we won’t need to answer Colby Sharp’s question … in the meantime here are some tips for new teachers trying to create a classroom library: