When you look at your classroom library, can you honestly say that you have interesting and engaging books for all reading levels?
If not, try a few of these go to places in your area to look for new titles: a local bookstore, a used bookstore with a great children’s/teen section, a local library with a knowledgeable children’s/teens librarian, the Horn Book, Book Lists such as the Caldecott Awards and Newbury Medals.
If you work in a district with parents and students who speak multiple languages, do you have a few multiple language books in your classroom library?
When I send them home, I ask the parent to read it in their home language and then ask the child to read it in English to the parents. Reading A-Z has books in French and Spanish that are easy to print out, fold together and send home.
Not only multiple languages but multiple cultures, do your books reflect the cultures of your school?
For my school, I look for books in the literacy closet and for my classroom library that may share experiences found in African American families, families with students of differing abilities, folktales from students' home countries, traditions and cultures from other areas of the world, faith traditions and more.
Do your books reflect an inviting appearance?
At the end of each year, I look through my classroom library and weed out the books that have hit the bathtub, been chewed by the family dog, simply are not catching the interest of my students, have been written in, and more. In order for them to want to read at home, the books should be refreshed and circulated often. At times, I will take a set out of circulation for a short time so new titles will be found.
If you are asking them to do a reading challenge, such as the 40 Book Challenge, are there multiple ways for them to achieve it?
Ideally, we would like for all of our students to be able to achieve any challenge we set in front of them successfully. However at times, students need multiple ways to reach the goal! If a child is not reading at night, check into what they are thinking. Is the goal overwhelming for them? Would it be helpful if they were able to listen to an audio book, partner read, or read the books on an IPad to meet the goal? Do they need the goal broken into smaller chunks? Do they need to start with books of fewer pages until their confidence and motivation gains momentum?
As the summertime gently fades away, these are a few questions I will be reflecting on as I set up my library for the year ahead. I would love to see your thoughts about the classroom library!