Are Classroom Libraries Necessary? Student Voices from First grade through High School Students.
Eileen Richardson & Holly Rice
This research examines the need for a classroom library from the perspective of students within each grade level. The research explores opinions on reading engagement through the lens of those students in the classroom. Undergraduate, preservice teachers enrolled in a field-based course, collected the data from 17 regular education classrooms, 260 students across 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and high school grades, throughout seven urban school districts. The questionnaire was designed to answer three key questions, 1) “Do you like to read? 2) Does your current classroom have a quality classroom library? and, 3) Does having a good classroom library make you read more?” We felt it was important to understand first and foremost if the students did, in fact, enjoy reading. If they did enjoy reading, did they have access to a quality classroom library? This study brings a level of awareness to future and current teachers on the literary needs of classroom students from first grade to high school. Our pre-service teachers who participated study would often ask if classroom libraries were necessary since each school usually has a library for all students to use. Moreover, they were concerned with the expense of establishing and maintaining a classroom library. The results of this qualitative study show that classroom libraries do provide access to quality literature and also motivate children to read more. This study brings a level of awareness to future and current teachers on the literary needs of classroom students from first grade to high school.