SOUTHSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Southside Elementary School is a Title 1 school in Jonesboro, Louisiana. Due to school reconfiguration two years ago, our fourth grade was moved from the local middle school back to the elementary school. Unfortunately, our library books did not make the trip with us. Southside serves about five-hundred pre-k to fourth grade students. Most students are from low-income and low socioeconomic backgrounds and reading is not a priority in their home. Our students generally read at least two reading levels below their grade level. Since Louisiana has recently adopted the Common Core Standards, our students are required to read more complex text on grade level in order to meet those standards. However, our library only has a few books and none of those are fourth grade level. Very few are even third grade level. We are in dire need of some chapter books on the thrid, fourth and fifth grade level as well as some interesting non-fiction books to peak our students’ interest.
Last year, we did not have a librarian at all due to budget cuts. Our students didn’t even get to go to the school library to check out any books. This year, due to construction on the campus, the “office” is housed in our library and although we do have a librarian, our students can’t use the library until the office moves out which should be by mid-term. We hope to have the library up and running by January, but we still have the problem of not having enough books on grade level for the fourth grade students. Due to budget cuts, we don’t have very much money to order extra books. Certainly not enough to serve all our fourth graders.
As the reading teacher for the entire fourth grade, I do require my students to participate in the Accelerated Reader program. Unfortunately, finding books for my students to read on their reading level as well as books for the students to read to meet the Common Core Standard is very difficult. For my classroom library, I have a few books, but not enough to do justice for the seventy-one fourth graders I teach each day. If we could get more books for our school library then our students would have some fabulous choices for reading material. Books take you places you may never get to go otherwise, and we want each and everyone of our students to go as far as they possibly can. Even if it is only in their imagination.
If you’d like to help them get some books, click on “View the School’s Wishlist” (it will take you to their wishlist on Amazon, which will ship the books straight to the school) or visit http://filltheshelves.org/