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- We Must Love Them - November 5, 2018
- Take One For the Team: The Need for Self-Care - August 19, 2018
- The New Teacher Smell - August 19, 2018
School has started! I absolutely love what I do. As I prepared for my new crop of kiddos I made the rounds to my normal haunts to purchase ‘new stuff’ for my classroom. I always get excited about getting new things for my students. Whether its games or art supplies, I anxiously await the smiles and cheers that always arise from my little people.
One of my projects this summer was sorting my 8,000-plus library books. Many of them had been scanned into our library app, but for this year I wanted to categorize all of the books according to themes, beloved authors and series. I figured this would really make our library align with lesson plans, thematic units and especially our science and social studies topics.
As I was going through book upon book, I was able to set aside those books that had been loved a bit too much and to take inventory of books that were missing from specific series. I kept a running list so I could replenish my stock after accomplishing this huge task.
Enter the Scholastic website. I LOVE getting new books. Like totally LOVE it. And Scholastic is an amazing tool to use. It is up to date, easy to use and the best part is the free books I can get with my bonus points and student orders. I plugged in the titles of books that I needed to replace. Once I had ordered all of those books I wanted to check out the new titles available.
I began looking through all of the blurbs for the newest books. And was shocked. Book upon book was about young kids dying, ghosts haunting, suicides, angry children acting out and so forth. Not exactly what I want kids taking home to read.
I am always very careful about the types of books I make available to my students. Before I allow a book to enter my library I read it and ask myself if I would want my own children reading it. Don’t get me wrong. I have the Vladamir Todd and Harry Potter series and all the popular dystopia books, among many other mature-themed books. But the catch to checking out those types of books is they require parent permission. Children are so impressionable, and parents usually don’t know what their kids are reading; they are just glad they ARE reading. I don’t like the idea of these types of books falling into the hands of students who can’t handle those types of themes.
We must protect our children and be cautious as to what they are taking in. I know many students don’t live in a ‘bubble’, but I also know that if a child thinks something is okay in a book, especially a book that a teacher has approved, they are more likely to think what they are reading is gospel. And we have enough of kids demonstrating violence from video games, social media and movies as it is. Do we really need to expose them to more violence through something we are begging them to do, like reading? Most books are written on a fifth grade reading level, but most fifth graders, developmentally, can’t assimilate the themes that many of the ‘popular’ books are written about. Teachers must be careful of the example they are setting for their students, especially those examples they are unaware of setting.
How do you determine the appropriateness of a book for your students?