James Randolph Elementary School serves pre-K students as young as three and fifth graders as old as twelve. The JRE library strives to develop a collection of books that meets the very wide range of needs for this age group. Nine years is a big gap, and a lot happens between the ages of three and twelve. The difference between three and twelve is the difference between blocks and iPhone, the difference between learning to read and becoming a tween.
Our students are not only different ages; they arrive at school with different reading levels, different backgrounds, and different experiences that have shaped their lives in both positive and negative ways. They have different needs when it comes to reading.
The book that is perfect for an active five year old boy isn’t likely to be a good fit for an eleven year old girl. The book that a fifth grader will read and love is probably not one that would be right for a second grade reader right now. But as teachers and librarians, we have a responsibility to serve all of the kids who come to us. We have a responsibility to offer literature choices that speak to all of them and meet all of their diverse needs.
Students, in general, do a fantastic job self-selecting books, and when they find they’ve picked up something they’re not ready for, they are usually quick to put it down and ask for help choosing something else. As teachers and librarians, we will offer recommendations and steer students toward books that are age-appropriate, and we encourage you to talk about books with your children. And if you find that your child has chosen a book that you think might not be the right book for him or her right now, talk about that, too.
We respect your right to help your own child choose reading material, and we ask that you respect the rights of other parents to do the same. If you object to your child reading a particular book, send it back to the library, and we will help your student find another selection. We will put the first book back on the shelf because even though it is not the right book for your child right now, it may be the perfect book for someone else’s child.
Our library will continue to have a wide range of choices for students – to meet all of their varied needs and help them all develop a love of reading. If we can ever be of help to you in recommending titles for your family, please don’t hesitate to ask.