There were some problems however, that I should have thought through. It's the Duffy Book choice problem, the Scholastic Books problem, the Library Books problem!
Kids choose dumb books with cool covers!
Too many of my students were picking dumb books, that were based on movies or comic book heroes, or simply covers with cool pictures. Their enthusiasm for the books would diminish within the first few pages, and often they wouldn't get past the first few chapters.
I tried helping the students choose their books and found some success with Paul Jennings novels, Morris Gleitzman, and a few random titles that I knew they would enjoy. It was a losing battle though, and too many were losing interest in silent reading time fast.
That's when I had the brilliant idea to use some of my class budget to start buying books for our own class library shelf! I started with just a few from the Op Shop. Some Roald Dahl, Morris Gleitzman, Maurice Gee, some more Paul Jennings, as well as few novels that I thought would catch the eye of the Girls. I was explaining the situation to some of the staff here at school, when I was offered a box of new library books that hadn't been integrated into the library system yet.
I jumped at the chance, and soon we had our own little library shelf!
There was a sense of pride from the kids with all our books on display, and the more limited (yet handpicked) choice of books meant that kids began competing to read certain books (or authors). I still took the class to the library, but now less than half were keen to change their books each time. Many choosing to instead, read the ones from our own shelf.
Together we came up with a system for our library shelf that would stop our books from getting mixed up:
- The Top shelf would be books that had been taking out of the school library.
- The Middle shelf would be books from the Op Shop (or Mr Goodwin's collection)
- The Bottom shelf would be the "Special Library books" (the books that hadn't been integrated into the school library yet)
Everyone would keep their bookmark in the book that they were reading.