“It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading."*
As teacher librarian and Reading Power blogger, Anne Weaver has stated, “Even though all teachers today would teach reading in some ways, teacher-librarians particularly recognise the importance of sustained reading, and developing the reading habit for enjoyment, not just subject purposes. This skill is very important in developing literacy, as students need to be able to read increasing quantities and varieties of material as they progress through school.
While all teachers should support reading, school librarians specialise in literature and finding books that will help overcome reading reluctance in some students. Encouraging reading of literature in a sustained manner is particularly important given the increasing use by students of technologies such as texting and Facebook, that use a type of shorthand for communication, and often operate against skills in grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary” (Weaver, 2010).
Toward this end, teacher librarians, in collaboration with classroom teachers, can:
- Develop collections targeted to their unique clientele
- Engage students with literature. See Australian Professional Standards example.
- Liaise with booksellers (here are the Children's Bookshops' Top Ten and Trends atm), read book reviews, and keep current by joining associations such as the Children's Book Council of Australia, the Primary English Teachers Association, the English Teachers Association and the Australian Literacy Educators' Association.
- Run blogs (example), wikis (school library example), book trailers, web sites with links to support student involvement in reading
- Run state Premier Reading Challenges, reading raps, readers theatre, literature circles, book fairs, book clubs, trivia competitions, speed dating with books!
- Organize guest speakers or videochats with authors and illustrators, sportspeople, community members or living library speakers
- Organize special collections: reluctant readers, "guys read," manga, graphic novels, English learners, foreign languages, Aboriginal, picture books for older readers, gifted students, intellectually and physically disabled, sight-impaired, parents of autistic students
- Subscribe to e-books, e-zines, databases
- Celebrate Literacy Week, Year of Reading, Book Week, Seussebrations, Cheese and (Anne) Fine afternoons, Cheese and (Robin) Klein afternoons!
- Provide jigsaws, Scrabble, chess, box games, educational digital games to attract students into the library
- Create an inviting and safe environment where students can make connections, stretch their minds and use their imaginations