Thursday, February 17, 2011

English Department Travels to Barnes & Noble to Build Classroom Libraries

What would make English teachers happier than a department meeting held in a bookstore where they learned about new books then got to go shopping?

Not much! According to English Department Chair Carol Jackson, it’s the most popular meeting of the year.  Jackson explained that teachers were given the opportunity to solicit requests of popular titles from their students. Most teachers came to the meeting with their lists of requested titles, then they added to the list based on information presented by Barnes & Noble Young Adult Literature Specialist Mel Spreene.

English teacher Debbie Gascon has a room full of books, but new titles and books always motivate students to read. “This experience is a great way to use student fee money.  The materials are going directly into the hands of our students and they are another example of funds enriching our classroom literary efforts,” she said.

Newcomer to the English Department, Sara Biltz, agreed. “One of the best experiences I've ever had in my many years of teaching!”

Books should be arriving in classrooms by early March, and most will be in students’ hands by the end of that first day.

“Reading has been proven to be a key factor in student achievement,” Jackson explained. “The more we can promote reading – through our Silent Sustained Reading period or through simply encouraging students to find something of interest to them – the more students will increase achievement across the board. Students who say they don’t like to read have probably just not found a book on a subject they like. It’s our job to help them make that discovery.”

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