Classroom Libraries

Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination.

Sidney Sheldon

What We Understand About Classroom Libraries

Decades of research confirm that children develop as readers through voluminous, high-success reading experiences. In Mamaroneck we are firmly committed to supporting the diverse and idiosyncratic reading journeys of our students by immersing them in vibrant, child-centered classroom libraries which provide access to compelling books that they can and want to read.

How Classroom Libraries Are Curated

Every classroom in Mamaroneck’s elementary schools is filled with a robust collection of several hundred books reflective of students’ interests and capabilities. With support from the literacy ambassador, school librarians, and administrators, teachers update their classroom libraries across the year to keep pace with students’ evolving interests and viral new releases.

Collections include a wide range of genres such as:

  • Fiction including fantasy, realistic fiction, and science fiction.
  • Nonfiction texts that provide accurate information about a variety of topics.
  • Traditional tales including folk tales, fairy tales, legends, and myths.
  • Poetry that uses distinctive style and rhythm to express feelings and ideas.

Classroom library books appear in a variety of formats including:

  • Anthologies of poetry and short stories.
  • Chapter books with longer, more developed story lines.
  • Graphic texts in which the illustrations and words work together to convey information or a story.
  • Procedural texts that provide instructions on how to do or make something.
  • Picture books
  • Magazines providing short articles.
  • Reference texts offering authoritative facts.
  • Series books featuring consistent characters over several installments.
  • Wordless books containing only pictures with little or no text.

Other considerations we keep in mind while curating classroom libraries include:

  • Diversity of characters and cultures providing our students with windows into experiences that differ from their own and/or mirrors of students’ own identities.
  • Level of text complexity ensuring access for all students to books that they can read fluently.
  • Kid appeal including books that offer compelling topics, engaging illustrations, and navigational choices.

Home/School Connection

To fuel their reading lives, students take classroom library books home nightly. Parents support students’ reading development by providing calm, uninterrupted time to read at home and helping to build the habit of carrying library books to and from school each day. More information is available at our Home School Connection page.

References

Miller, Donalyn. (2009). The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child. Jossey-Bass, n.d. Print.

Neuman, S.B. (1999). Books make a difference: A study of access to literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 34, 286-301.

Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report