For over five years, teachers and administrators at North Tahoe High School have focused on creating a culture of literacy with the goal of ensuring that our students are not only college and career ready, but also have the skills needed to access the different types of complex texts they will encounter in the future. During that same time, our English Department attended a conference and read Penny Kittle's Book Love, which makes the case for creating lifelong readers by giving students the choice to read books that are interesting to them, thereby increasing their reading volume. These "hook books" often reignite a love of reading in high school students, and in turn inspires confidence in their abilities as readers, which translates to higher test scores and performance on the district reading assessment. There is also a large body of research that shows a strong correlation to volume (or words read) and student growth in the areas of vocabulary, reading comprehension, and academics in general.
Two years ago, we wrote two grants, one for content-area classroom libraries, and one for English teacher classroom libraries, with the goal of providing more diverse titles representative of our student population in every classroom on campus. Our librarian fully supported these grants and noticed that her circulation increased as well as students often would look for a follow-up title to a book they found in a teacher's classroom in the library. We also discovered that many of our teachers specialized in different genres and could provide student recommendations on science fiction or historical fiction titles. Teachers also posted signs with what they were currently reading, and it sparked student to teacher connections over books schoolwide. Finally, many content-area teachers including our Resource teachers, started literature circles with their students as another way to connect and learn.
Due to the success of both grants, teachers are asking for more books to add to their classroom library collections and we would like to continue to be able to support them in this continuation of our culture of literacy we have worked so hard to create North Tahoe High School.