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Simply put, having a variety of books in your School’s library motivates children to read. Reluctant readers are encouraged by being allowed to choose from a vast collection, while a willing reader looks for similar books to those they already know they enjoy.
15 Types (not genres) of Books a School’s Library Should Include:
1. Picture story books include text that is highly associated with the illustrations, making it possible for emergent readers to practice “reading” by telling the story through the pictures. Even children of older grades enjoy reading picture books, and just about all children enjoy having picture story books read aloud to them.
2. Picture concept books typically only have a few pictures per page with the identifying word printed below it. These books are good for emergent readers and ESL students.
3. Traditional literature, like nursery rhymes and fairy tales, offer a printed form of stories that were originally oral. Children tend to gravitate to these stories. And now, so many authors have created their own spin-off, or fractured fairy tales, that there is something to please every age and skill group
4. Fables and folktales
5. Informational text offers non-fiction in our School’s libraries. School’s libraries should have an extensive collection of non-fiction books of content that interest children of a given age.
6. Realistic literature is so very important to include. This type of book features real life problems that children may be experiencing themselves, such as going to a new school, being bullied, or welcoming home a new baby. There are even picture books of realistic fiction that deal with very sensitive issues like divorce or death.
7. Early reader books often are familiar stories written with text easy enough for beginning readers to read them, or they feature familiar characters.
8. Wordless books can carry definite story lines without the use of any text. They used to be thought appropriate for only very young children, but in reality, wordless books offer children opportunities to read the pictures and children will often “read” a very complex story within the pictures. They are also wonderful for writing prompts.
9. Big books are generally familiar stories written in a format large enough to need an easel for reading. The purpose of such a large book is that children can more easily see the text and follow along with the teacher as the books it being read. Big books make it possible to do some otherwise small group reading practice with a larger group of children.
10. Biographies are of high interest to children. Historical figures, sports and television icons are widely available in a variety of difficulty levels.
11. Joke and riddle books are very fun for children and are an excellent way for students to share reading with others.
12. Poetry books are easy to forget about in School’s libraries, as some have thought most poetry to difficult for young children. However, authors like Shel Silvertein (we love Where the Sidewalk Ends), A.A. Milne and Mary Michaels White have made poetry much more accessible to young readers, just to name a few.
13. Books in a series are wonderful for encouraging reading. The same is true of books by the same author/illustrator. For example, once a child reads a Mo Willems (my kids LOVE the pigeon books), Eric Carle, Eric Litwin or Laura Numeroff, they are sure to ask for more.
14. Participation books get children actively involved in reading by stimulating touch, smell and hearing. Other participation books are written as though the author is speaking directly to the reader, eliciting a response, like The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak.
15. Cookbooks and craft books are often forgotten about, but provide meaningful reading opportunities. Children love to sift through cookbooks and make connections to similar dishes they have made with parents, and many times children are more than happy to read and follow step by step instructions in a craft book.
The Making of a Great School’s Library
It is often a slow and maybe even painful task. Rather than buying up mediocre books on the cheap, teachers should focus on high-quality books by great authors in a variety of content.
High quality text + variety of types of books = excellent, well stocked School’s library.
Ideally, every School’s library would have collection of all 15 of the above types of books in three to four different levels, guaranteeing that every student has access to their desired content at their own level.
But, if your School’s library is full of well-used books that are old and maybe even dusty, that’s an ok place to start. As you expand your library, focus on quality text and variety. Within a few years you can also have an extensive School’s library full of books in a variety of content and skill levels.
School’s Library Books
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