"Everyone who knows how to read has it in their power to magnify themselves, to multiply the ways in which they exist, to make their life full, significant, and interesting". - Author, Aldous Huxley
Elementary schools across the San Ramon Valley Unified School District have adopted, and are fully implementing the work of Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project - Columbia University, New York, with tremendous fidelity and focus. The mission of the Reading and Writing Project is to help all students become avid and skilled readers, writers, and inquirers. There are many interesting and compelling discussion topics within the scope of the work, but with limited space, the focus of this month's article is to share how Rancho is ensuring teachers have adequate materials to support high quality instruction in reading, and further, promote student access to a variety of literature.
Over the last couple of years school wide emphasis has been placed on building rich, state-of-the-art classroom libraries with multiple copies of interesting children's books. When interesting and varied books, ranging in difficulty, are directly available to students it sparks students' interests and matches their passions. It is much easier to teach students to read - to teach them what they need to become powerful, knowledgeable and literate people (Lucy Calkins) when great books are in their line of sight.
Building classroom libraries is a work in progress. According to several sources the optimal number of books in a single classroom library should be 300-600, depending on grade level and number of copies of each title. The number of books teachers should expect students to read during the school year in 1st grade (picture books) is 100-125; and, 2nd grade and up (chapter books) is 50-75. This amounts to approximately 22 different books for every student in the class.
The good news is that through the dynamic teamwork of Rancho Romero's teaching staff, School Site Council and Education Fund a structured, systematic approach, aligned with necessary funding, is propelling us toward the goal of supplying hundreds of high quality books in the classroom. During our most recent school wide auction, over $20,000 dollars was raised through a fund-a-need, called Literacy In The Classrooms. Additionally, School Site Council has approved a budget the last two years providing each grade level team with funds for classroom library materials.
As we head into April teacher teams, supported by our Teacher's On Special Assignment, will work closely to inventory current books, review learning modules and units of study, and compile new lists of essential books. When school resumes in August students in every classroom will have access to upward of 125-200 new books. We know children learn to read by reading. When students have immediate access to books through extensive classroom libraries the sky is the limit.
April 21- May 20
California Assessment of Progress and Performance Testing (CAASPP)
Welcome To Kindergarten Day (all new entering kindergarten students and parents)