Instead of storing their library books during major building renovations this summer, Shepardson Elementary is checking them out to students, hoping to maintain or improve student reading levels during the break from school.
“Instead of having the books sit in storage, I thought students could be reading them,” explained Margie Bucher, Shepardson media specialist.
Shepardson, like several other Poudre School District schools and sites, is having major renovation work done this summer. As a result, staff was asked to box everything to prepare for the extensive upgrading. However, Bucher thought the library books would be better off in the hands of students, rather than in boxes, and created the “Books into Bags” project.
About 130 kindergarten through fourth-grade students elected to take home a bag full of books to care for and read this summer. Each child's bag of books was specifically selected for them based on their own personal diagnostic reading assessment.
“We matched books to their independent reading range and filled the bags with types of books that will help them, according to what their assessment says they need to work on,” said Bucher.
In addition, some of the bags include the school’s infrequently-used cassette recorders with books on tape and blank tapes, which allow students to record themselves reading out loud.
Bucher hopes the program will help students maintain or improve their reading level over the summer. Research shows that students often lose up to two months of instruction in reading and math during the summer break. Shepardson staff plan to study the before and after summer reading levels of students participating in the project to determine if those students benefitted academically. They will compare the results to the reading levels of students who did not participate in the project.
“Hopefully the books will make a difference. We’ll see if their reading level changes over the summer and compare it to those kids who aren’t taking bags (of books) home,” Bucher said. “We hope students at least maintain their reading levels by taking these bags of books home. The kids are super excited about it.”
Whole Foods generously donated the 130 bags being used in the project.