Tuesday, January 19, 2016

No Limit

Why I've thrown away my circulation limit....

Well, it started last year when an adorable, overly competitive classroom of second graders were vying for the AR Most Words Read Trophy for their classroom. Prior to this event, Kindergarten through third graders were only allowed to circulate one book at a time. Well....one book was NOT enough for these kiddos. I was seeing most of their faces every day, sometimes twice a day. They were reading animals. It opened up a great discussion between me and their classroom teacher.

Did these students truly need to circulate multiple books at a time? Were they responsible enough to keep track of more than one book? And the biggest question, were they actually reading all of the books that they circulated?
The answer was, yes. They were.

The teacher and I decided on a trial run. We chose the most responsible students, who were also the most advanced readers, to check out two books at a time. It was a total success. As word spread of the magical second graders with more than one library book, I began to have the same conversations with other students' teachers.

It was amazing the amount of students that began to circulate more than one library book successfully. Did I still lose a few? Of course. Who doesn't? I want to meet a librarian that doesn't lose a book here and there! I believe she will have some goddess-like name and be cloaked in magical fairy dust that enchants the kids into bringing back their books without question, loss, or damage. (In other words, that person doesn't exist.)

I still use this practice of no limit for students who show the need for accommodations. Isn't that what teaching is all about? Making accommodations and adjusting to student need?

I love having upper elementary students come to me before a long weekend and request to check out 3 or 4 books because they "might get bored". No joke. Happened the Friday before the 3-day MLK weekend, and she joyfully marched into the library Tuesday morning to return two of the books.

I have one class of first grade students this year that are circulating their books at home. This is the first time I have ever had first graders ask to take their library books home!* I was so excited last week (and also very nervous). Again, I discussed the possibility with their classroom teacher, and we decided that there were a handful of students that were not ready for that responsibility. However, it has given those students something to work toward! I love seeing students set their own goals!

What's your circulation limit? Do you have one? Is it hard-fast and set in stone? Why? Think about your students. Are those hard and fast limits really necessary?

*Kindergarten through third grade students utilize guided reading books. Those books go home on a regular basis. As a group, we decided that K-1 should keep library books at school to read while taking home guided readers for practice since they work on the skills with the GR books in small group. Having library books in classroom book boxes adds a little variety during independent reading time.

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