Raising Achievement Through the Use of Classroom Libraries
Classroom libraries are integral to successful teaching and learning. Extensive research has shown that students who have immediate and ongoing access to engaging books in their classrooms exhibit higher reading achievement, better comprehension and an increased vocabulary. When students are provided with well-designed classroom libraries, they interact more with books, spend more time reading and exhibit more positive attitudes toward reading.
The Role and Importance of the Classroom Library
A classroom library serves as the backbone of the classroom’s daily learning activities. An effectively designed classroom library:
- Creates a Reading Environment: Making time and space for a classroom library creates a reading environment. Children will be encouraged to read more if they have daily access to meaningful and personally interesting books.
- Supports Reading Instruction: Classroom libraries provide a collection of reading materials at different reading levels. Books ranging from easy to challenging are included to meet the varied abilities of students. Teachers can match the reading levels of their students with the levels of the books in their classroom library. Books are read with success, thus allowing students to grow as readers.
- Enriches the Curriculum: Having a wide range of non-textbooks in the classroom encourages teachers to incorporate diverse fiction and nonfiction books into their teaching. Teachers can also introduce students to a wide range of book genres, authors, and topics.
- Reinforces Language Acquisition: Classroom libraries provide a vast resource for diverse activities that reinforce language acquisition. While the best predictor of reading success is the amount of time spent reading, reading achievement is also influenced by the frequency, amount, and diversity of reading activities.
- Encourages Independent Reading: Having books readily available in the classroom supports independent reading, personal exploration, project research, and individual assessment. Successful reading programs provide students with daily time to read self-selected books that meet their personal reading interests.
- Increases Vocabulary: By reading a variety of texts, students’ vocabulary increases, which improves reading comprehension and language arts skills.
- Allows Students to Interact with Books: A classroom library functions as a gathering place for students to meet and talk about their reactions to books with peers and teachers. These exchanges encourage comprehension and critical thinking.