Queen Mary SchoolHamilton, Ontario 171 / 592 Books Given
Principal Kelly McCrory
Currently, our book cars are outdated and with books that are falling apart. Based on a informal survey at our last staff
meeting, twenty-two out of twenty-eight classroom teachers say that they have a classroom library, but their libraries are insufficient. Within their classroom libraries, teachers noted that they have a lack of diversity in their book, a substandard quality of books, and that teachers paying out of pocket just to maintain a decent amount of new, interesting books. Their wish list would be to have the following integrated into their existing classroom libraries: high interest books, non-fiction
texts, graphic novels, ebooks, audio books, large print books, and books that align with changing curricula (i.e. the new
Social Students curriculum for grades 1-8). A lot of our teachers pay out of pocket in order to keep up with emerging themes in their classrooms, as well as maintaining a variety of new books for students to enjoy. In addition to classroom
libraries, we have 4 book carts that hold approximately 300 books each. This may seem like a lot of books, but for a
school with over 600 students, it is difficult to engage students with such limited choice. A majority of our classroom run a
home reading program to extend the love of reading beyond the school. The book carts are crucial to ensure these
programs continue to exist. Many students exchange their books daily, which demonstrates the family’s commitment to improving reading abilities. Based on our reading survey of students at Queen Mary, we found that 90% of them enjoyed reading. Our concern is how do we continue to engage our students in reading, with our current status of books.
Specifically, our teachers are concerned with our students being represented in texts that they read. Our Native as a
Second Language (NSL) Program services 81 (grades 4 - 8) students. Our NSL teacher has expressed the importance of our school’s Indigenous children achieve a sense of pride in their identity by having access to books that speak to our Haudenosaunee cultures and traditions, our achievements both past and present, what we are best known for (high-steel
workers, Olympians, educators and politicians, artists, musicians, etc.). It is also just as important that all non-Indigenous students and adults in our school learn about the same information to help them formulate a correct and respectful
understanding of Indigenous Peoples. It benefits us all to learn. With such a diversity of learners in every classroom, it is
vital for these students to see themselves in the texts they read to not only understand their culture, but to imagine their future possibilities. Our ESL program services 35 students daily. Currently, our ESL teacher is utilizing the LLI kit to target language acquirement for these students. “When ELLs are being instructed in English, they need the additional support that comes through engagement with texts that connect to their cultural backgrounds...Research shows that students read better and read more when they read culturally relevant books”(Y. Freeman et al., 2003; Goodman, 1982; R.
Jiménez, 1997b). With this being said, we do not currently have any texts that support cultural awareness or
representation for these ESL and ELL students. We continue to strive for an inclusive environment for all of our students with the addition of a diverse set of texts, high-interest books, and accessible formats for all students.
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