Let’s Have Classrooms Full of Books!

Photo Credit: Raphael de Kadt Flickr via Compfight cc

Creative, inquisitive classrooms are wonderful. But no matter how great the classroom looks, or how many provocations are employed, a classroom must have books.

I love to read. I’ve talked about it in this space before here.  Frederick Douglass said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”  It’s the freedom to go anywhere and to learn anything.

When I visits schools and classrooms (hands down, one of the best parts of the job) I see lots of wonderful practice, tested and true and innovative. I love seeing cozy nooks and corners where students of all ages can curl up, lie down or relax and…read. And listen, they don’t have to all be paper books, because ebooks and blogs work too. But we need books!

Pernille Ripp blogs at Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension and her posts are full of literacy: reading, writing, listening and speaking. But not only that, wondering, thinking and creating too. Some of my favourite Ripp posts are the lists of books: picture books, fiction, non fiction poetry. Every day, she encourages her students to read and read and read, and they do, even the reluctant ones.

Every teacher, every educational assitant, every principal, every educator needs to make a literacy rich environment a priority in our classrooms and schools. Reading is for everyone. How can you help make this a reality?

6 comments on “Let’s Have Classrooms Full of Books!

  1. adunsige says:

    I could not agree more, and I think that we have to have books and reading materials everywhere (from Lego instruction books to magazines to non-fiction texts to flyers to student-created books of all ages for children to read and enjoy). I strongly believe that books cannot just be seen as something that we read in one area of the room, but something that we enjoy everywhere, and at different times for different purposes. I think that if we want kids to love books, we have to help them experience “joy” in reading: showing them that books are about more than levels and assignments, but something that we can enjoy anywhere at anytime: that will teach us something new, that will allow us to escape, that will help us question, that will cause us to think, and that may even help us self-regulate. When I grew up, I remember so many students “reading for fun.” I don’t see this happening enough anymore, and as an avid reader myself, that worries me. I wonder how we can change this. Part of me wonders if reconsidering the emphasis on levelled texts may help. I’ve blogged about this before, and I’m thinking about this again. Curious to hear what others think.

    Aviva

    • Sue Dunlop says:

      Aviva – thank you for your comment! I see children and adults reading for fun, but I agree that it looks different these days. A literacy rich and book rich classroom and school environment is something we really need to take a look at and dedicate resources to.

      • adunsige says:

        Maybe I don’t see it happening as much because it does look different. I wonder though what we could do to increase this student interest in books and reading for the love of reading. There is so much “wonderful” that comes from time spent with a book. It makes me so happy to see kids sitting down with books in the classroom, and choosing to do so. I find this happening more and more at this point in the year, and it always makes me smile. Three of my best moments from today involved a book or a magazine and kids!

        Aviva

        • Sue Dunlop says:

          I truly believe that educators have a tremendous influence on students within and without the classroom. If educators shared books every day and made time for independent reading (along with a strong literacy program), we would see kids picking up books and enjoying them.

  2. Paul Ronan says:

    A welcome read, Sue. The power of engaging students through literacy is transformational. Putting great Canadian literacy in the hands of great teachers is tremendously influencial on students outcomes. The good news is there has never been a better choice of great Canadian Education resources, from FNMI content to Canadian social justice titles, to just great ‘bang for your buck’ leveled texts, lots of choice!

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