Carolina Gallegos – Drama teacher
Clara González – Year 6 English Language teacher assistant
Karen Roberts – Year 6 English Language teacher
What comes to your mind when you think about the library period?
This is what our students had to say:
When we think about library periods, we all think along the same line: choose a book, find a comfy space to sit in, read and be quiet. We all want to foster reading for pleasure and have a moment during the day when students just relax and enjoy some silent time. However, that wasn’t working for us. Most of our time in the library was spent telling students to be quiet, to get a book, to stop wasting time and to READ FOR PLEASURE (as if it were a switch they could just turn on). This is how it was meant to go: once a week, 6th graders would go to the library where they would find a bin with books. They were no longer obliged to check out a book from the library given that their study load is significant and therefore, the books they could choose from were usually short. After that, they would read the book, summarize it and get ready for an oral retelling in front of the whole class where they would have to recommend the book. Needless to say, they always chose the shortest book they could find. Yet, the biggest problem was that they weren’t finding any pleasure in their reading. They wanted to talk to their friends, comment on their books (if we were lucky) and basically, interact with each other. So this year we sat down and decided we had to start over.
When we were designing our new library period, we noticed that the library had undergone some changes over the last years. It was no longer the traditional library with books and pillows. There were round tables, a wall that functions as a screen, a wall to write with chalk and lots of computers. Technology was being integrated to our reading space. These new technologies were altering the functions of the library, yet that change wasn’t being reflected in our period. This was when we decided that that was the way to go. Our objective was still to provide the children with a space where they could read for pleasure but it would be more than that. We noticed that stimulating literate environments at school are essential for literacy acquisition and its development. If literacy is not presented in a meaningful and relevant way it will not have a long lasting effect on children and this was what we wanted to create for them.
We therefore decided to have a period a week that would reinforce the English Language curriculum, but at the same time provide them with options and choices which would engage them. We would take advantage of the technology available in the library and create a new type of library that is no longer quiet and solitary. This new space will require interaction, investigation and discussion which will be achieved by integrating traditional teaching strategies with technology to engage students to become creators and innovators. This project will promote and enhance literature appreciation, fluency, creativity, technology skills, digital and global citizenship, collaboration and innovation but it’s main focus will be the strengthening and development of values for it is our belief that values should always be central to what we are teaching.
It is our wish to motivate other teachers to rediscover their library period and inspire students to kindle their love for reading through meaningful practices in the library.