When Books Arrive Too Late

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This year, I finally feel content with the amount of books that I have in my classroom. It took many years and working at Title 1 school to receive a sufficient amount of books for my classroom library. I encourage reading. I allow my students to take books home. I hope that not only they enjoy their books, but that they also serve as a role model to their siblings and friends.

As I was unpacking numerous boxes of books this year, I realized that while the variety and quality of books I have in my classroom is amazing, for most of my students these books have simply arrived too late. By the time students enter 5th grade, they have set attitudes toward reading, and while these outlooks aren’t impossible to change, they aren’t easy to change.

In these first few days, I noticed that the bookcases are visited only when students are directed. Only a couple of students asked to take a book home. The enthusiasm just isn’t there as I was hoping. Now, the task of “selling” classroom books to my students is all on me.

Title I schools receive free books at every turn. We have the poorest students who need the most academic assistance. Still I can’t help but think how would have things been different if the same companies who send fee books to our Title I schools, have also sent books to my students at birth and consistently through pre-school age. The habits of reading and the “bank of knowledge” starts from birth, not in kindergarten or 5th grade.

I can’t help but thinking that these book donations, while great, have arrived too late to springboard children toward developing lifelong learning habits. Do you agree?

Mrs. Lena, M.Ed.

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