“Students will read if we give them the books, the time, and the enthusiastic encouragement to do so. If we make them wait for the one unit a year in which they are allowed to choose their own books and become readers, they may never read at all.” ― Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
The middle school teachers at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School are very excited to implement new literature and reading strategies for their students, but they lack an adequate middle school libraries that Alder Creek Middle School and North Tahoe Middle School enjoy. In The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller describes how she coaches every 6th grade student to become readers who average 40-50 books a year. She gives her students the time and the freedom to read books of their choosing. The real key to success is having a library full of diverse and engaging literature from all genres to share and intrigue students.
Ms. Santos has taken time to reflect on specific titles she would like to add to start the middle school library. The middle school crews at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School are in need of fiction and non-fiction novels to dive deeply into their overarching theme--identity. Throughout sixth, seventh, and eighth grade the middle school teachers focus heavily on several aspects of identity and self-discovery; personal identity, identity within a community, and identity on a global level. “It’s hard to be what you can’t see,” says middle-grade author Jason Reynolds. He knows. . . Teachers kept giving him what they considered classics, but those middle school books had nothing to do with who he was and what he saw each day. So, he never touched them.” To deepen this important and meaningful period of self discovery and reflection, Ms. Santos would like to add highly engaging and purposeful titles--that directly align with the middle school theme--to the very small middle school library.
To further demonstrate need, the middle school at SELS received two new teachers in seventh and eighth grade. This is the first year Ms. Santos has taught seventh grade, and Mr. Worster previously taught middle school math and science. They have very little literature to work with and students have repeatedly asked for more books to share.