Printable books, online articles, e-books, and audio books are wonderful resources to support reading at home, but nothing is quite as powerful as having access to REAL books. Schools are getting creative at solving the problem of book access. In this blog, we share their ideas with you!
Any reading—whether it is on a screen or on paper—is beneficial. However, “studies show that students of all ages, from elementary school to college, tend to absorb more when they’re reading on paper than on screens, particularly when it comes to nonfiction material” (Barshay, 2019). This is especially concerning now with stay-at-home orders limiting children’s access to print books. Here are 5 solutions schools are currently implementing to get books into the hands of their students:
Books in the Mail
Lakewood School District, in Washington State, is using the postal service to get books to families.
“We received my daughter’s book club book in the mail, and my daughter was overjoyed to get something from her teacher. The package even came with a hand-written note.” ~Parent of 5th grade student
Another school, Northshore Christian Academy, is hosting a book-drive-through in the parking lot of the school. Parents are encouraged to ‘drive-through’ during a scheduled time. The teachers, masks on, hand materials to students through the car window. Both students and teachers report feeling their spirits lift as they make a face-to-face connection.
For families who express a need for books in the home, one school district is going the extra mile by providing porch delivery. Families request books by completing an online survey: What are the ages of the students? What types of books are of high-interest? When a request comes in, librarians and other staff select books from the school library to be checked-out and delivered.
Virtual Book Fair
Many schools have had to cancel their in-school book fairs, but are taking advantage of virtual book fairs to get books into homes. Follett, Scholastic, and Barnes and Noble all offer virtual book fairs. Our personal favorite is Follett’s virtual book fair because teachers are able to customize the shopping experience for students and families. Try something new! Consider a multi-cultural book fair through the EyeSeeMe online book store.
"It is a great opportunity to offer a diverse selection of culturally responsive reading choices for students, which can also help all children develop a respect for those who are different from them," EyeSeeMe website (2020).
The Northshore School Foundation is currently providing books to families through a book drive. Volunteers are donating books to be sanitized and dropped off at a collection site. These books are then distributed to families in need.
“I put together two boxes of picture and young adult books and brought them to one of our neighborhoods and in a half an hour, one box was gone.”~Foundation Member
61% of low-income families have no books at all for their children. This is why (especially now, with libraries closed) our communities need to be coming up with creative ways to provide all students access to books. Thank you to the schools highlighted above for sharing their ideas!
If you are a teacher or librarian supporting students with reading at home during the COVID-crisis, we want to hear from you! Please click here to share your story or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read Side by Side LLC.
For more information about teaching virtually, please read our blog The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Teaching (the C. I. A. Approach)