Library Remodel Includes New Books, Student Reviews

KC Elementary librarian Velvet Lerch (left) and literary coach Kathy Arlen with students

The Elementary School’s library has been transformed. Along with a remodel, new initiatives brought books and reading to every corner and classroom of the building.

The library has new carpet and paint, but along with structure and materials, literacy coach Kathy Arlen and librarian Velvet Lerch have promoted initiatives to get students talking about books and sharing their reading experiences.

“We’re trying to watch what ishappening in the classroom, so when kids come in here it’s the same conversation,” Arlen said.

In the library, fifth-graders have created QR codes for books they finish to include reviews, so the next student to pick up the book gets an idea from their own classmate of what to expect. Reviews are displayed on a bulletin board, and on the opposite wall, a board of “book selfies” shows third grade students with their favorite books.

For National March is Reading Month, the elementary school also introduced an “Elite 8 Books” theme to mirror college basketball’s March Madness tournament. Each week, students voted on a popular book. The winner was announced with the backdrop of pep music, and students dressed up as characters from the book on Fridays. The winning book will be celebrated during a school-wide assembly at the end of the month.

High School athletes also were invited into classrooms to help students read and celebrate books. In the hallway, faculty have contributed to a bulletin board matching them with the college they attended.

The key is to incorporate classroom reading with outside reading, Arlen explained, so that books can be found everywhere. “That’s our goal, that books become a part of their life and soul.”

Over the summer, Arlen said, she and Lerch plan to rearrange the bookshelves by genre and author, so the library resembles a bookstore. To keep students engaged, she hopes to interact with students by encouraging them to blog about their summer reading.

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