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The Book Fair

Book fair week is an exciting time for many students and families.  Our Parent Communication Council (PCC) sponsors the annual book fair and they provide an evening during the week for families to come in and socialize together all while browsing the books.  Families enjoy the event and have the opportunity to purchase books for classrooms based on teacher wish lists.  I enjoy the book fair too and the books in this photo were my personal purchases this year for my classroom library.   Some of the titles are new to my classroom library and some are replacements for books that have been “permanently borrowed.” AS has been stated many times before, that if you aren’t losing at least ten percent of your classroom library each year, you don’t have the right books in your library!  My library has evolved over the years and it is important to add to and change the library as the readers in my classroom change.  I try to purchase books that appeal to many different readers and my students love the variety that I have. There is always something in my “new book stack,” that interests everyone and this year’s haul was no different.  What I love the most about the book fair is watching the students choose the book that is just what they want, a book that is just right for them.  Student choice allows young readers to explore a variety of genres, to develop identities as readers and to build a love for reading.  Some of the books that they choose are titles that I would never expect them to pick up, but it gives me a window into their reading lives that enables me to continue to help them develop as readers.  Choice is so very important as it is what keeps a student coming back to my classroom library and growing as a reader.  I have taught for thirty two years and I know how the pendulum swings in education. With all of the discussion and debate surrounding reading instruction and what makes a student truly a “reader,” it is my most sincere hope that student choice isn’t bullied into the corner in favor of a more scientific approach, particularly for upper elementary students.   If that happens, my fear is that the love of reading and the willingness and desire of students to develop into lifelong readers will be lost. Every year, I have Seniors tell me that they still love to read because I “let them,” read what they wanted to read, that I helped them to develop habits as readers and that they still LOVE TO READ.  I never want those voices to go away, ever, no matter where we are on the pendulum.  What a tragedy that would be and not a legacy I want to leave behind. 

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