Setting up and running a school library is one of the most satisfying jobs a teacher can perform. As a teacher-librarian
you will be able to develop children’s love of books and encourage them to read. This in turn will improve their literacy
skills, which they will enjoy, remember and share long after their school days are over. You can also show students how
to find out information from the books in the library, and this too is a skill for life. People need information to educate
themselves and develop their true potential, and for this they need literacy skills and access to books. The library
provides access to books; it is a place where information is shared.
Setting up a library is also a great challenge. It can be hard work, so it is recommended that you work closely with
many other people at your school. In this way the library will belong to everyone at the school and can be made to
benefit many generations of students.
The biggest change has been in the children’s confidence and willingness to read, which they have carried back into the classroom. During lessons, particularly guided reading, the children who actively borrow from our library, have been more enthusiastic about taking part and, more importantly, their comprehension of what they are reading has improved measurably too. Their growing confidence and increased exposure to language, grammar and punctuation has also lead to a significant improvement in their written work too
Unfortunately, in my school, I found NO english readers or magazines when I started teaching there! I decided to set up and run an…english…bookcase myself, by donating my own books to the school first and then by asking parents, students, friends, publishing houses and my PLN to offer us as many books as possible!
Today, 7 years later, our small ” library” has about 400 english books and I am really very proud of that! Children are encouraged to borrow books regularly, on a voluntary basis! At the end of each term, the three most frequent readers in each class, are awarded complimentary bookmarks in front of their classmates!
“We learn to read by reading”
What is important too, is that I place a piece of paper inside each book , for the students to write a short book review on, and share it with the rest of the class! Students who bring this review back , are awarded a sticker for their english stickers collection!
The readers who read the most titles are given a special award,too at the end of each term . The competition brings challenge to reading and it is associated more with fun than learning and we therefore do not consider it harmful.
I sometimes, hand them a different handout ,where they are asked to write a different ending to the book story and maybe draw a picture which has to do with it!
The most basic activity is the book report, in which students are asked about their
personal experiences of what they read e.g. whether they found the material enjoyable or
interesting and why, whether they liked some characters from the book or what did
reading make them think of. They can also be asked whether the reading was easy or
difficult for them.
Most teachers who are asked to set up and run a library are not trained librarians – and neither am I…
The steps,one has to follow to set it up in the first place, are the ones below!
• select books for the library
• make a written record of the school’s books, pamphlets and other library stock such as newspapers, magazines,
audio tapes and videos.
• divide the library stock into subject areas
• choose the best method of letting students borrow library books.
• repair damaged books.
“We want our students to be able to read better: fast and with full
understanding. To do this they need to read more. And there seem to
be two ways of getting them to read more: requiring them to do so
and tempting them to do so”
The major problem in order to get that started, was…financial!Every school year, I do everything mentioned below, to be able to finance my library:
a)I ask my headmaster to allocate some money for the program. I am prepared to present budget and the organization of the programme (lending
books, time devoted to ER etc.)
b) I ask each student to contribute money for one book. This is a good start
but more titles have to be added later therefore, I usually ask my students at the beginning of each year to offer at least one second-hand english book to our library!
c) I also appeal to local donors (individuals, firms, organizations)
d)I gain money from grants – school bazaars
e)I contribute books from my personal library or ask my
colleagues to lend books
“Libraries should be the beating heart of the school, not mausoleums for dusty books.”
Extensive reading (ER) is obviously crucial when it comes to EFL but….why don’t teachers use ER more often?
A good question. When I ask such a question to fellow teachers worldwide, the answers come down to these:
a) Insufficient time.
b) Too costly.
c) Reading materials not available.
d) ER not linked to the syllabus and the examination.
e) Lack of understanding of ER and its benefits.
f) Downward pressure on teachers to conform to syllabi and textbooks.
g) Resistance from teachers, who find it impossible to stop teaching and to allow learning to take place.
Everything depends on how teachers feel about extensive reading. Unless the teachers are of the view that extensive reading is beneficial in promoting English language development among their students, they are not likely to exert their efforts to make the program a success.
I am not saying here that, ALL my students are eager to read extensively! What I am saying is that, I give them the CHANCE to take up this reading habit! I motivate them, I award them for their efforts, I offer them a free choice of books!
“School Readers, in essence and origin, are an attempt to make it possible for children to learn something without teachers, or without competent teachers; and they tend to create the conditions they presuppose. Thus, if I were a teacher teaching some subject by means of a School Reader, I should be under a constant temptation to say,‘Get out your reading books’; and the end of it would be that the children would know only the book and not the subject.” Fr. Drinkwater
I am passionate about getting children excited about books when they’re as young as possible, at a time when books and stories seem magical to them and their imaginations are expanding and they are forming language skills. I am staggered when people don’t see how important that is.