Lending E-Readers in the School Library (Part I: Background)
I believe it was the immortal Gary Wright who sang it best:
E-readers, I believe you can get me through the ni-hiiiiiiiight
We just rolled out an e-reader lending program in my school library and I plan to share the ups, downs, and what-to-look-out-fors along the way in these here pages. In upcoming installments, I’ll get into the planning, implementation, and evaluation if the program. But today, a bit of background. Let’s hop into the time machine and go back to the halcyon days of August 2011…
Each year, my school district’s education foundation offers an Innovation Grant to school employees.Â Any teacher interested in implementing a project that incorporates unique or innovative components with the goal of benefiting students is encouraged to apply. For me and my secondary colleague, an e-reader lending program was a no-brainer – for a few reasons:
- It would allow all students to access to this relatively new form of technology, especially those who would not otherwise have access due to socioeconomic status.
- It would generate excitement in reading. A bit of hype never hurt, right?
- E-reader features (adjustable fonts, highlighting, note-taking) would benefit all students, and particularly those with visual impairments.
- Other schools were seeing success with their e-reader programs, like the one implemented by librarian Buffy Hamilton and featured in School Library Journal.
We outlined these benefits in our program goals, put together a timeline for reaching them, and sent the whole thing to the powers that be.
If this was a cooking show, this is where I’d put the grant application in the oven, and pull out another application with the words APPROVED written on top. That was an exciting email to receive.
Now might be a good time to mention that if you’re an educator looking for grant opportunities, FableVision has a nice list you can subscribe to for free. Click here to check it out.
Our grant allowed us to purchase 10 e-readers to spread among our 5th and 6th grade elementary building, middle school, and high school. While this isn’t a huge number of devices, it does give us the chance to get a handle on things before expanding the program. And it will definitely need expanding.
Next, we had some decisions to make.
To Be Continued…
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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