The classroom library is a great place to introduce boys to the topics that interest them. It provides a place that is part of their daily school day where boys can explore new books, new topics and new possibilities through reading.
Recently I walked through the school library where I work with one of the students that I mentor. We were looking for a new book, that interested him, to read together. After numerous rejections of mysteries and science fiction books I suggested we check out the History section since he told me that was his favorite subject. I was sad to find out he did not know where the section was in his school library.
The classroom library is such an important resource to boy readers. It is a more intimate setting than the school library, which can be overwhelming to boys who are not good readers or familiar with the sections that interest them. It is also an extension of your students’ daily learning, a place where they can learn more about subjects or themes covered in class or be exposed to new topics that build on those themes. With some good planning, your classroom library can be utilized to appeal to the boys in your class who may be losing interest in reading.
Variety of Reading Materials
As boys get older their interests change. Classroom libraries should evolve with them to help keep their interest in reading. The stories and picture books that helped boys learn to read are no longer exciting to them as they get older. Boys want to read about adventure, science, biographies, the environment, history and like topics. A good classroom library will have books on a variety of subjects arranged in theme. The organization of the library into themes will help boys more easily discover new books or even new interests that appeal to them. They may not know the exact titles of books that they enjoy, but they know which subjects grab their interest.
Get Their Attention
Show the boys in your class the fun adventures that wait for them in books from the classroom library with signs and displays. For example, help your students recognize themes with a science display using books about marine life, the ocean and manatees or a topic your students are learning in science that week. Get your students involved by assigning one student per week to create a list of their five favorite books and display them together with his list. These fun visuals are great techniques for appealing to boys who might normally avoid the library area.
My student and I finally found the history section of his school library. We explored all the topics we found there – Roman History, American History, the First and Second World Wars. He decided on a book about Egypt because the pyramids on the cover “looked cool”. Now he tells me how the Egyptians built those great structures. I like to think that in his classroom library, he may have found the Egyptians on his own.