Thank you for those of you so willing to share such incredible ideas of how to build a classroom library. I was SO glad I asked for input, I had no idea what to do, and so many had done similar things so well, we are thankful for the wisdom and are eager to get it done!
I emailed Maria’s teacher and asked for a Book List, some books that she knew her students would love to read and that she had always wanted in the classroom, her response, “Wow…sure!”
Today, I put all the titles she sent me into an amazon wish list (Which some smart reader suggested). The books will be sent here, and taken to class, labeled with the the right AR level, and read–probably immediately 😉 I mean, right? How exciting for these kids! These books are fun, exciting, and just searching them on Amazon rekindled fond memories and excitement for reading.
Thank you for all your help! We even found new book shelf 🙂
Amy and Maria
Last year I volunteered in Maria’s classroom a handful of times–or less. My new year’s resolution was to be in there once a week for 2014, “No prob,” I decided.
It is actually a hard commitment for me, despite the fact that Andrew works from home, and the boys take at least a couple hour nap, simultaneously, in the afternoon.
I think it’s hard for me, because for the last three years that nap time was ‘my time.’ I would go all in parenting wise, all morning, ensuring my few hours in the afternoon. I could clean up, answer my emails, stare at a wall, whatever really–so to pack up and book it to the classroom, in my time of sweet peace, was totally not what I felt like doing, despite my resolution.
Until, I just did it. I still mostly feel like a toddler mom, meeting friends for playdates, story time, etc. Fifth grade stuff I am still easing into.
“Ok,” I told Andrew resolutely, “I am leaving right now…right now, for Maria’s school…unless you don’t want me to. Or you need something…” I faltered.
“No, it’s fine, go. The boys will still be sleeping when you get back.”
“Ok…” as I ran to the car, before I sank into the comfort and good feelings of the beginning of nap time take over.
Let’s just say her school is not affluent? And we love that, we do, and when I walked in, the teacher was like, “YES!” so stoked. The kids were doing some kind of fraction thing, and I helped random kids until I sat with one girl, shy and scared, for 20 minutes, until she could really do fractions right. Really, really got it. On the last one before the kids left for recess, I told her I was not going to look, until she wrote the answer down all by herself with no help.
She nervously looked at the paper and worked hard, and when she was done, “WHAT!!! What are you some kind of fractions genius, Fernanda?” I asked as she blushed. She totally got it. This is totally better than checking emails! When the kids went to recess, I texted Andrew, “Remind me that I love this, Ok?” Plus, Maria loves it. I don’t think there will be a time that she doesn’t feel amazing that a mama would come, just because of her.
At silent reading, I started reorganizing the tiny, scrappy library. Maria’s old bully came up, to look at the books. “What are you looking for?” I asked.
“A book,” she responded.
I laughed to myself, so rough around the edges. “Read this one,” I told her, handing her Number the Stars. She gave me a look showing sassy disinterest.
“I’m serious, they try to kill her family because she is Jewish, but she is tricky…” Her interest peeked as she read the back and took it to her desk, cracking it open.
As I relabeled all the books for Accelerated Reader, I looked at the these old, old tattered books. The sweetest kids coming up, picking out new books as they diligently read. Some kids are still reading picture books, the ones higher up picking a BabySitters Club book with the cover art in awesome 80’s apparel, a couple classics mixed in.
The kids are sweet, and hard working, but some don’t get a whole lot of support from home. What I wish was that they could need a new bookshelf because there are so many extra books. That there were new, fresher books for the kids to chose from. That as they read, their language skills and reading skills grew and grew, preparing them for junior high and high school.
So, as you know, I am still new to this. What do you recommend? For those of you who have volunteered in the past, how have you raised money for your child’s school, for new books? Or have you ever found people to donate some new books?
I know it’s just one classroom, but many, many kids will pass through over the years and reading is one of the best skills we can give kids. A skill that crosses all subjects and abilities.
We have dug through our collection and found a few great ones that line up with the online Accelerated Reader Program.
Please let me know what are some things I can do to bulk up the library in one amazing fifth grade class with one awesome teacher. What have you done in the past that works, or what are some good ideas?
“Everyone is a reader, some just haven’t found their favorite book yet.”