In recent years, NTHS has been focusing on the literacy levels of our students. Last year, the English department attended a conference and subsequently read the book titled Book Love, by Penny Kittel. Penny's message is that in order to form life-long readers, schools/teachers need to hook students with books that are interesting to them. Last year, Tom LeFevers used his Fellows award money to start a classroom library. He ordered 4 to 5 copies of 47 titles that were on various recommendation lists as well as from students on campus. When the books arrived, Tom's students were thrilled and have been plowing through these titles and a number of students are now going to the library and having conversations about books. We have also seen an increase in reading levels in our students. We are writing the grant this year to not only increase the titles for Tom (he has a lot of the students who are struggling) but to also add libraries to the other 3 English classrooms. By creating classroom libraries, we want to continue to work with students to establish more life-long readers. Our librarian is also fully behind this plan as she has noticed that classroom libraries actually increase library circulation.
The benefit of this program is to continue working with students on their literacy/reading level while also working with them to develop their life-long love for reading. We help explore student's individual tastes and help them choose book titles. The long-term effects would be to have students who graduate high school and take a love of reading with them that will aid them in their futures. In the brief amount of time Tom has had the books in his room, students and teachers are talking about likes and dislikes as well as recommending books to each other. This has helped to increase our family-like culture on campus. We are also getting other teachers involved by having them share what they are reading with the students. We have been able to connect kids with teachers who have similar reading likes. It has been fun to watch these connections being made and we want to use the grant to continue to build on this phenomena.
Our success started last year with the arrival of Tom's books. Students were immediately drawn to the idea that books were bought with them in mind and immediately started to grab books to read. The new titles will help us continue the fervor that these titles started.
If we receive the grant money, we will purchase the books for our classroom, so the implementation would be within weeks of receiving the money. The English department is already populating a list of titles desired for our classrooms based on the grade levels and interests of the students in our classes. We are also eliciting student input for these selections.
We are submitting this grant as a grade 9-12 English department grant.
None at this point, but we have discussed using our $200 academic enhancement money to gets us a start if nothing else comes through from the grant.