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Dear Supervisor,

I am honored to be able to work alongside a wonderful team in this school district to help

further the education of these students. As a child, reading was the center of my universe. It

expanded my knowledge on topics, but also gave me an opportunity to explore new worlds and

adventures. My parents and teachers shared with me the same enthusiasm for reading, and

therefore, I became fascinated with the world of literature. Reading also developed my character

and allowed me to learn more about myself, as a person, through the genres that interested me.

Because of this, I believe that children’s literature plays a vital role in developing scholarly

readers. This integration of literature starts in schools, but specifically libraries. Through my role

as the school librarian, I can use my love of reading to help students gain an appreciation for it

too, especially outside of the regular classroom, by encouraging them to read widely, read

deeply, and create readerly environments.

Reading widely is a crucial aspect of creating well-rounded readers and this idea can be

accomplished in the library environment. The plethora of books that surrounds students can be

enticing, but also overwhelming. Therefore, it becomes my honor to guide them toward a

selection. Each book opens a door for learning and adventure to take place simultaneously.

However, “the ‘meaning’ and significance of stories will vary from reader to reader, depending

on age and personal experience, as well as experience with literature” (Kiefer and Tyson 2014

pp. 49). I truly believe this is one of the most important aspects to remember about reading. For

example, a children’s book that incorporates the topic of divorce will affect each reader

differently. On one hand, a child’s eyes may be opened to this sobering reality, while another

may hold back tears because it is the situation they are facing at home. As the librarian, keying in

to the sensitivities of my students is important to help them grow as readers, but make certain
that some topics will not have an adverse effect on their individual growth. By engaging with the

students and learning about their unique personalities, the memories and associations that

literature reminds them of, and through the topics that interest them, I can successfully lead them

to books. Not only will I be able to recommend genres that engage them as readers, but I can also

take them out of their comfort zones, knowing their background, and introduce them to other

various types of literature. This task becomes a major key in unlocking their success of reading

widely.

However, the opportunity for students to read widely does not stop there. It is also

important for me to have a vast array of genres available in the library for students to explore,

including books they may not have access to in the classroom or at home. Traditional literature is

a prime example of a good introductory genre for readers. “The plot structures of folktales are

simple and direct and contain a series of episodes that maintain a quick flow of action” (Kiefer

and Tyson 2014 pp. 110). This becomes a good stepping stone for readers because it mirrors the

basics of a solid story which will then allow them to branch out to other genres and more

complex plots. This structure will also provide them guidance for simplistic writing, where

students can mirror what they are reading and create imaginative pieces.

Another genre that expands young readers’ literary horizons is historical fiction.

“Historical novels for children help a child to experience the past – to enter into the conflicts, the

suffering, the joys, and the despair of those who lived before us” (Kiefer and Tyson 2014 pp.

230), by teaching them about events that they did not live through. As a child, I had a

challenging time finding enjoyment in non-fiction alone because I believed it was composed of

boring facts consisting of historical events that I did not experience first-hand. However, the

genre of historical fiction can engage those students, as it did for me, by recounting important
factual information, while also incorporating fiction to make it interesting, adventurous and

captivating. By reading widely, readers are growing their knowledge of topics and many

opportunities can arise from this awareness of information. The library is one of the first places

where they will have access to the abundant choices of reference materials.

Once a child has grasped the concept of reading widely, it is important for him to start

digging deeper into the book and noting what he finds. One way this can be accomplished is

through, “Children [being] given the opportunities to write about what they read, such as through

reading logs or response journals” (Kiefer and Tyson 2014 pp. 328). These are important

components of the classroom because children learn to analyze the literature they are reading.

Reading logs and response journals allows them to gain a deeper understanding of the text,

theme, and symbols. However, this task can become systematic and repetitive in its endeavor to

educate children, especially when the books are required reading and analytical material. As the

librarian, I believe this kind of exposure to reading deeply can be beneficial; however, children

can quickly become disinterested in reading due to this. As an antidote, reading deeply can take

place in the library too, by allowing children another opportunity to keep a journal, but on books

they find interesting and enjoyable. It still allows them to think deeply about what they read,

reflect on the topics, and give insight on their beliefs or similar experiences. Sometimes, the

books children are handed to analyze are classics, or books with intense material and a prospect

for precise investigation. However, some of the most simplistic books for young students can

also incorporate the same type of deep reading. One example is the picturebook genre which

plays a critical role in reading deeply because, “Students realize that illustrations contain hints

that imply a whole network of information: clues to deeper understanding of the story” (Kiefer

and Tyson 2014 pp. 95). They aren’t just reading the surface level text but have the opportunity
to connect it to the pictures and understand how both tell the story in a verbal and nonverbal

fashion. Picturebooks also give me a chance as the librarian to encourage reading deeply during

the allotted time I have with the students. By reading a picturebook to them, or encouraging them

to look at one on their own, they will benefit from the rewards of analyzing. Students can discuss

their thoughts with other peers and have the ability to complete the story in one sitting. Overall,

analyzing books allows students to expand their search, and look deeper than the surface for

meanings in anything they read.

Not only are reading widely and deeply important for engaging students in the world of

books, but creating readerly environments where reading is encouraged is just as crucial.

Therefore, “Children need to discover delight in books before they are asked to master the skills

of reading. Then learning to read makes as much sense as learning to ride a bike; they know that

eventually it will be fun” (Kiefer and Tyson 2014 pp. 5). This begins with the adult figures in

their life showing enthusiasm for reading and books, and can be achieved at home, in the

classroom, or in the library. Some children however, are not encouraged to read at home or may

not have transportation to a public library where they can gain access to books. Due to this

phenomena, I can incorporate a readerly environment in the library everyday. To achieve this, I

can show my delight for literature by always having new recommendations ready, encouraging

the children to approach new genres, choosing different types of printed material for story-time,

and informing them of the books I am currently reading. Children who see others reading for

pleasure will be more intrigued to discover the same delight. Once they start reading and are

guided to the areas of books that interest them, they will discover its adventures and keep coming

back for more. This will eventually lead to them growing stronger as a reader, just like they

would grow better at riding a bike the more they come back and practice it. I also support the
idea that, “Boys and girls of all ages should have the opportunity to hear and read good literature

every day” (Kiefer and Tyson 2014 pp. 320). By introducing children to literacy at an early age,

they become accustomed to the ability of picking up a book at their leisure and hopefully

continuing this practice as they grow. When children hear good literature being read to them,

they are able to differentiate between what makes a “good” book or not and can warrant further

thoughts with peers and educators. It also creates a readerly environment for the students because

they are given the opportunity to hear a story during the day. In the library, the reading

atmosphere can also be achieved by allotting time for students to read on their own or in small

groups and have discussions. This time will be an extension of the skills they are practicing in

the classroom, too. Finally, the hope of creating this environment is that children will engage

with a book and decide to check out multiple ones for the week. Then, they are able to take the

readerly environment to their home.

My hope as the librarian of this school district is to cultivate scholarly readers who learn

to read widely, deeply, and create readerly environments. The benefits that come with these

techniques open vast new exploration opportunities that are found in books and the world. I

desire to impart the love I had as a child, and still have to this day, to my future students in a way

that even if they did not consider themselves readers beforehand, they will find a new

appreciation for the world of literature. I am honored to have this opportunity to not only work in

an outstanding school district, but also the task of guiding these students toward readerly and

academic success.

Sincerely,

Laura Conaway
Works Cited:

Kiefer, B., & Tyson, C. (2014). Charlotte Huck's Children Literature: A Brief Guide (2nd ed.).

New York, NY: McGraw Hill

Kiefer, B., & Tyson, C. (2014). “Understanding Children’s Responses to Literature” Charlotte

Huck’s Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Chapter 1 pp. 5

Kiefer, B., & Tyson, C. (2014). “Understanding Children’s Responses to Literature” Charlotte

Huck’s Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Chapter 2 pp. 49.

Kiefer, B., & Tyson, C. (2014). “Understanding Children’s Responses to Literature” Charlotte

Huck’s Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Chapter 3 pp. 95

Kiefer, B., & Tyson, C. (2014). “Understanding Children’s Responses to Literature” Charlotte

Huck’s Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Chapter 4 pp. 110

Kiefer, B., & Tyson, C. (2014). “Understanding Children’s Responses to Literature” Charlotte

Huck’s Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Chapter 8 pp. 230

Kiefer, B., & Tyson, C. (2014). “Understanding Children’s Responses to Literature” Charlotte

Huck’s Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Chapter 11 pp. 320, 328