The Hawthorn Elementary School North library is stocked with more than 15,000 books, many of which are printed in both English and Spanish.
Forty-three percent of the 432 students at Elementary North are of Hispanic or Latino descent. To excite learning in the school’s kindergarten through fifth grade population Toni Schramm, library media specialist, searches for a mix of fiction and nonfiction books that align with new state standards but also interest readers.
“Our students love the Is That a Fact series and the Time for Kids series,” said Mrs. Schramm. She mixes those series in with interactive and history adventures that will hold students’ attention. As a result of the school’s sensitivity to students’ reading interests, two books per student are checked out of the library on a weekly basis (one for each kindergarten student). A grand total of over 800 books are circulated to students each week, with many more being checked out by teachers for their students to read in the classroom.
Over the years, Mrs. Schramm has added hundreds of books in the area of easy nonfiction as well as many paperback fiction books, not to mention the latest well-reviewed new books in both fiction and nonfiction. Students’ interests really haven’t changed much over the years. “They still enjoy stories with memorable characters, stories that touch their hearts, and stories with humor and action,” said Mrs. Schramm, who has been a librarian for 23 years.
Between now and March, students in grades kindergarten through three are reading the books on the Monarch list, the Illinois children’s choice award list, and they will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite book on the list. Students in grades 3 through 5 may read books on the Illinois Bluestem list and vote for their favorite book in March.
“Students love the idea of having a say in which authors win a gold medal. It really personalizes reading for them,” Mrs. Schramm said.
Elementary North’s annual Dr. Seuss Family Reading Night is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday, February 20. This is a time where families are invited to read together in the school’s gym.