Given the 2003 Morrow study that states that “students in classrooms with libraries read 50% more books than student in classrooms without them, I wonder why school districts don’t focus more on purchasing diverse books for purposes of building up classroom libraries? This would be especially useful if we bought highly visual books designed to benefit bilingual students and early readers. Is this simply a matter of a shortage of funds? Or is it a matter of allocating resources according to curriculum requirements that do not include random, recreational literature?
My fear is that part of the reason these books may not enter the classroom is the vise of overly rigid curricula. If outsiders are picking all the books, they may not understand the complete necessity for kids to be able to find what they like to read. Readers like to read. How do we create readers? We give them the skills to read AND we find them books they enjoy. They must have freedom to choose.
A sidenote: This is one reason why teachers end up spending a lot of their own money. I have bought many books for my students over the years. I make the long drive to the Walworth County Fair in Elkhorn, Wisconsin because they have a great used book sale up there: I once got an affordable set of encyclopedias written at an elementary school reading level for around $5.00.
Any readers planning to dispose of gently used books might try contacting a teacher friend. We can usually find a way to pass them on to someone who will appreciate them, even if we can’t use them ourselves.