At least once a month I try to have a library day with the kids. They really love books but their exposure over the years has been very limited so it was originally a very stressful day for me since teaching book etiquette monopolized most of my time. I am someone who keeps my books in pristine condition so the horror of watching students chew on, write on, and harshly handle the books was almost more stress than I could bear. I always try to remind myself that some of these kids are 20 years old (so not really kids at all) and have never really read a book so it is up to me to teach them the value of reading and how to properly care for a book.
We recently received a new shipment of books from one of my fabulous English professors at Cornell and her daughter. The kids loved having new books and now I have enough so that every student can have their own which greatly diminishes their urges to violently fight over the books. Thank you so much Katy- we really love our new books!
One of the other things I have been trying to work on is building the kid’s confidence so that they are willing to read out loud to the class. Since the students are not always very supportive of each other, and laughing at mistakes is the common classroom culture, it is often difficult to find volunteers to stand in front of the class and offer themselves up to be ridiculed and mocked if they mess up. One of the ways I am trying to change this is by making library day very casual so the kids are more relaxed. I started bringing in “reading props” that the kids could wear when they read a story out loud. My hope was that if they could wear silly hats or sunglasses then it would make things less formal and maybe they wouldn’t be as tense and worried about their pronunciation. I noticed immediately that I had more volunteers and the atmosphere was relaxed and joyful- very conducive to building confidence and having fun!
Of course after we finish reading it almost always turns into a photo shoot of the kids and their accessories- probably not the most educational activity be we sure have fun! 🙂
I love this last photo of the students reading together. Jean de Dieu was reading a book called Jesus and His Friends out loud to the other students. The period was finished and I was packing up to leave and told the kids I needed the book back. Jean de Dieu stared at me with the most astonished face I have ever seen and said, “But teacher, we are reading about Jesus!” What do you say to argue with that? It was worth being a few minutes late to the teacher’s room and I am happy to see them enjoying the books!
I have also taught of few of the students who I really trust how to use my camera so I finally have a few shots that include me!