Trina Samson, the librarian at Mount View Elementary submitted an Excel Grant application for books … At Mount View our students are making gains in their reading, and one of the ways they are doing it is by reading books at their just right level. We have leveled the library with the books’ Fountas & Pinnel (F&P) levels so the students can find a book at their level easily. The reason I applied for this grant is that we desperately needed books at the lower levels for beginning readers.
At the beginning of the school year, we had very few books leveled A-H (on the F&P scale). A lot of teachers were checking them out for their classrooms or intervention groups and there were very few left for the kids. Almost all the books we did have were in English. The Excel Grant allowed me to purchase over 100 new books in English and Spanish (sometimes both in one book) at the lowest reading levels. Now we have quite a few of those books still in the library for students to check out and the teachers still have enough for their classes and groups as well.
At the beginning of the year, a teacher came in to get books for her after school homework group. She wanted each of her 60 students to have 2-3 books at their level so they could read after they finished their homework. Most of these students were reading at the lower levels of F&P. A lot needed books in Spanish. We just didn’t have enough to fill the bags for all of the students. After we did the best we could, there were no books left in the library at levels A-D.
Then I got the grant money and spent it on books in English and Spanish on levels A-H. I was able to fill the bags for the homework club, including the ones who needed Spanish books, and still have more left over for the library. We were able to stop telling students that we were out of books at their level and to check out a book at another level. Now we can get all students into a just-right reading level at the lowest levels.
The kids who were reading at these levels have moved up by now, but they will be very useful for incoming kindergarteners and 1st graders next year!