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Reader’s Cafe

Fifteen years ago, a hiring principal asked me where I saw myself in ten years. I said, “A Reading Recovery specialist”. Well, fifteen years later I am entering my fifth year as a licensed Library Media Specialist after having taught reading and math in the general classroom. And in a way, I have become that reading recovery specialist. I am probably like many of you, our educational visions shift but our overall goals of wanting students to be successful does not. One of the most struggling things to hear, as a teacher and or librarian, is that a child cannot find anything to read. Depending on the curriculum or class reading assignment, I often see children wandering the stacks looking at covers and their overwhelming number of pages for the perfect read. I decided to build a small collection of books called the Reader’s Cafe just for these students in its own section of the Media Center. This mini collection holds each section of Dewey that fit my building’s curriculum requirements as well as various fictional titles. This collection is geared toward the student that is not reading on grade level. I use a strategy that I used in my general classrooms at the start of the school year where I discuss how everyone has strengths and weaknesses and learning is different for everyone too. But now I take my new fifth graders to this section in the Media Center during our tour and point out my bumble bee stuffed animal. I proceed to discuss that this is special collection of library books and its “no buddies Bee-nize” what you read from this shelves or any other shelves in the library. Then as needed, I am able to guide students to this section to find a great read! I am happy to say that the Reader’s Cafe has been very successful. Not only do I have students selecting books with comfort and most importantly with something they CAN read, but teachers love this area too. They have found it very helpful to direct their specific students to this area when they assisting themselves or identify it on a pass for me to assist students. In addition, our MRD students now have an area that is easier for them to select books from too. And even though I am not an official Reading Recovery specialist, I know that I am a specialist in ensuring all my students can find something in their library that they can enjoy and READ. Kim Hamlin Little Miami Intermediate School