One thing I probably love most about my job is going to elementary schools and reading to classes. It's a great way for the kids to relax and have some free time that is still stimulating and engaging. They are usually a rapt audience, with the right books, and it's obvious how much they enjoy it. At my library we have made a list of some of the 'needier' schools in our area- most are Title I schools. Title I- Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged was created with the purpose of ensuring that all children have fair and equal access to high-quality education. You can read more the of the specifics at the U.S. Department of Education's website, or click here to be directed to the page. Needless to say, the Title I schools have a large majority of their student body living at or below the poverty level. These are often families that move around a lot, families with limited education, families with limited English, and many other worse situations. While the state of Colorado does have some measures in place to help the children and families of these schools, it takes a village and the tireless effort of public servants like librarians to make sure these children don't slip through the cracks. What matters most in keeping kids reading and thus boosting their mental and intellectual capabilities is: Keeping it Interesting! Showing kids the fun we can have with books during a short story time is a great way to keep them excited about books and learning. And no matter how old they are, kids love being read to!
I usually try to form some rapport with a nearby elementary school LTE (Library Technology Educator) or librarian in plain speak. She or he will put out the feelers to see if teachers are interested in having me come to read, and then we go from there.
I like to keep it low-key and fun, so I'll usually start off by making myself look totally silly. Putting on these glasses normally does the trick:
Most recently, I read to 2nd and 3rd graders, which is a really fun bunch to visit. They're usually so excited and they love being read to!
Here are some books I love for this age group:
2nd and 3rd grade books for story time:
Good Dog: Poems by Maya Gottfried
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
The Long-Nosed Pig by Keith Faulkner
Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
Guess Again! by Mac Barnett
Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong
Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal