Put enough school librarians in a room and the conversation will at some point center around leveled books and AR (Accelerated Reader), these two programs are antithetical to a library program. I returned from the American Library Association Midwinter Conference having participated in many such conversations. It is disheartening to hear a student ask, "Do you have any "m" books?" This reading choice is driven by level and not by interest. There is a time and place for scaffolded reading experiences and I am all for helping children find books that will strengthen their reading muscles, but the first question I want to hear is, "Do you have any books on sharks?" What follows from there is up to the reader.
I returned to school on Tuesday morning to experience the following interaction with a kindergarten student:
I missed the best part of the interaction (my phone was too far away). This kindergarten student was telling the library volunteer all about sharks by reading the pictures. I am so happy to have witnessed it and happy to have captured the parts that I did. I love that the pictures not only gave him information but also stimulated questions like, "Why are his eyes read?" and "Why does he hide in the mud like that?"
I love being at theintersection of reader and book.