Everyone should have a classroom library, whether you teach English or another content area. Classroom libraries offer all kinds of benefits: increased student reading achievement, greater access to print material, greater levels of volume of student reading, and more. But starting a classroom library is a daunting task. How do you afford it? Organize it? Maintain it?
How many times have you heard the phrase “I don’t read” in your classroom? For me, it happens every week during independent reading. For these reluctant readers, it is even more important that we find the perfect books for high school students who hate reading.
I started my journey to add young adult literature to my classroom when I finally ran out of patience for our outdated African American unit. The updates went so well, I’ve begun branching out into my other classes and units. I have found that young adult literature is especially great for engaging my at-risk students.
Better yet though, it’s engaging for me. When I’m teaching more contemporary novels, I’m more thoughtful and engaged in my teaching.
I know I am not alone in the engagement challenge. In a world where my students can stream fist fights or stand-up comedians, how do we get them to care about what’s going on in our little classrooms?
In a creative writing class, however, where rules are meant to be broken, creativity is unrestrained, and student skill levels vary wildly, providing that scaffolding can be a challenge. How, then, do you guide students and provide support without limiting their creativity?
We get so caught up in a curriculum, paperwork, standards, and observations that we often lose the magic of literature; The Hate U Give brought it back to my class.