Friday, August 02, 2013

Media Centers Support Literacy Goals

By Marsha Levering, Primary Literacy Collaborative Trainer

As another school year gets under way, teachers often take stock of their resources and consider what they need most in order to teach the children coming into their classrooms. As teachers of readers, having access to a substantial quantity of engaging, informative, and meaningful books is critical for advancing the progress of students.  While many of these texts can be found in a well-stocked classroom library, there is another place where they can also be found: the school library!

The school library, or media center, can be designed in much the same way as the classroom library. Literacy Collaborative classroom libraries are arranged in a variety of ways such as by interest, genre, author, and topic. The school library can be arranged in the same way so that students have even more selections to advance their interests, stimulate inquiry, and add to their knowledge base.  Topic books (animals, rocks, air travel, etc.) can be shelved together, as can author sets and research subjects frequently used by students. These collections span a range of reading levels .Within the reading workshop time, teachers help students learn to identify appropriate reading material close to their achievement level so that when students are in the media center, they are able to find suitable texts for specific purposes—from entertainment and enjoyment to fact-finding and research.

Media centers can be an extension of classroom libraries. Begin to view them as more than ‘that place to do research’ and explore how they can offer daily, meaningful interactions with text that are critical for the reading attainment of our students. As media centers are more frequently becoming part of class rotations, teachers and media specialists can work together to provide a setting that expands upon literacy opportunities for children. Research has shown that reading improvement happens when readers read more! Integrating media centers, reading workshops, and classroom libraries can provide children with strong support for literacy growth.