The semester before I started student teaching, I had to take a class about teaching literature at the secondary level. Dr. Steffel, the amazing professor that hooked me on YA, was teaching this class and had us complete a project as our final. We had to put together a book filled with important quotes and information about teaching, reading, etc. that would remind us why we decided to teach. She said something along these lines- “You won’t love teaching and your students every day, so use this book as a reminder. Keep it somewhere close in your classroom.” I made a small scrapbook filled with genious quotes from teaching greats. One of the most important pieces speaks of the importance of a classroom library. That little scrapbook followed me through student teaching and still sits proudly behind my desk now. And as that little book has been following me through my career, I have been building my classroom library.
The first day I was allowed to come into my classroom and start preparing it, I organized my collection of books. I think I had around 30 or so books to start the year. The kids didn’t quite understand what I was trying to do with this classroom library, but once we started SSR the lightbulbs started turning on. I was reading aloud to them, book talking every book I finished reading and added to the shelf, and continued on with SSR. It took a few kids at first, but they eventually picked up on my excitement about reading and wanted to be excited too!
Since that first year, I’ve been creating readers in all of the classes I teach. I’ve even gone on to create a Young Adult Lit class. My library has become the supplement for our school library because we lost our librarian this year and quite a bit of our budget for books. Now there are students I’ve never met coming to me asking to borrow from my library.
I created my first DonorsChoose project last year and within a month it was funded, which provided me with 42 new books for my class library! I’ve put two new projects together because it’s becoming harder to keep up with my students’ requests for books. I have over 30 excellent titles I need for guys in one project and over 30 excellent titles I need for girls in the other. Here are the links:
Donations big or small are extremely helpful and appreciated. If you can’t donate, maybe you could spread the word about the projects I’m trying to fund. A few titles I’ve listed because I need doubles to keep up with how popular they are. The rest are books I that I don’t have. Quite a few titles (Gary Paulsen titles, Percy Jackson series, Simone Elkeles titles, Delirium, etc.) have been requested by my students. DonorsChoose is an awesome site that helps thousands of teachers. If you’re a teacher or librarian I encourage you to create a fundraiser as well!