Walk into any school library and what do you see? Students reading, working, and making. Hopefully, some beautiful displays highlighting books by certain authors or about certain topics. But you’ll also see rows and rows of books. Hidden on these shelves may be just the right books to get students to fall in love with reading. But in a sea of books, how will students know where to look?
As I examined the circulation statistics for my library, I noticed that some incredible, important books were not getting checked out. They were collecting dust on the shelves, in the shadow of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and other well known books. Book talks are woven into my lessons everyday, but it’s impossible to talk about every single book in our collection. My students didn’t know these other books existed, and I wanted to change that.
I pulled approximately 80 of these hidden gems from the shelves and laid them out on the tables. I asked my students to peruse the titles and choose 3 to sample. Then, I gave them exactly 5 minutes to begin reading each book. At the end of 5 minutes, they had to record their initial thoughts and whether or not they would like to continue reading this book.
The results were amazing. My students were excited to have found something new to read. They were eagerly talking amongst each other about books they’d never heard of but couldn’t wait to read. As the weeks went on, these hidden gems continued to be checked out because the students were recommending them to each other.
I encourage all of you to try a Book Sampling with your students. I think you’ll find that, like me, your students will discover something new and their love of reading will grow!
Author: Jenna Grodzicki
I have been in education for the past 15 years. Currently, I am the K-5 Library Media Specialist at Thalberg Elementary School in Southington, Connecticut. Prior to that, I taught kindergarten, first grade, and third grade. I am also a picture book author. My first book, PIXIE’S ADVENTURE, is coming out in early 2017 from eTreasures Publishing. More than anything, I LOVE to read! I also love skiing and cheering for the best team in baseball, the Boston Red Sox!