Personal Choice Reading in Content Area Classrooms

Top Shelf Library Guy: original source unknown
Top Shelf Library Guy: original source unknown

I participated in an great PD session on personal choice reading given by our district’s Director of Humanities, Kyle Arlington. In the vein of Reader’s Workshop understandings, personal choice reading is a powerful and authentic way for students to practice close reading strategies and develop a love of reading and learning.  An important strategy Mr. Arlington shared, more here, was creating text sets, electronic or paper, of reading materials grouped by topic, platform. reading ability, point of view etc. I especially love the idea of teachers seeing this as an opportunity for students to learn about topics that may not be covered well or even at all within the curriculum. (For example, presently  the Civil Rights movement  in our district is not covered at length until high school). When brain storming where to find reading materials, I realized the valuable role teacher-librarians can play in this process.

  • Teacher-librarians can share portals for finding text materials: (Wonderopolis, Finding Dulcinea, library databases, Newsella, Youngzine, Dogo News, copies of pages from informational books, primary source portals, picture books, curation sites and more!)
  • Teacher-librarians can create text sets!
  • Teacher-librarians can create portals for collecting text sets: (wikis, curation sites)
  • The library can act as a hub for housing and sharing text sets.
  • Teacher-librarians can use personal choice reading in content area classrooms as a way to foster interest for inquiry based research projects.

I’m reminded of an earlier post which also highlighted the role for teacher-librarians in creating text sets. For good reason, teachers no longer can rely on subject area textbooks as students’ primary resource  for learning. Students want and need to explore materials on varied topics, in various platforms and from varied points of view. Classroom teachers will appreciate the support from teacher-librarians now more than ever, and that’s a good thing!

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