Destinee Walter-Green examines shelf upon shelf of books arranged neatly by genre. The Summit Academy Middle School – Columbus English-Language Arts teacher predicts students will delight in the newly organized classroom library as they start their 2023-2024 school year.
New to Summit Academy this year, Walter-Green wanted to pique students’ interest in reading by taking confusion out of their book selection process. A passionate writer and reader with an English – Creative Writing BA degree from Ohio University, Walter-Green admits to experiencing shortcomings with reading that students might also face.
“I struggle with reading big blocks of nonsense and [scatterings of] books on a shelf I cannot process. I might as well stare at a blank shelf,” Walter-Green explains. “If I am feeling that way, I can’t imagine how kids with reading deficiencies would. I wanted to make it better for them.”
To start, Walter-Green weeded out tattered, dated books and those with numerous copies. The first-year teacher then organized the school’s book collection with a cloud-based library management and circulation system called Libib.
“I wanted to bring the classroom library into a more modern setting and for students to experience technology with a do-it-yourself system,” Walter-Green says, explaining that each book is scanned into the Libib system and labeled with a barcode. Students can check out a book by scanning its barcode. “It also helps me personally with organization. I know where everything is going and books that are repeatedly checked out.”
“I was impressed that Mx. Green-Walter took the time to list books by genre so now we can track what students are checking out and interested in. Knowing which materials they like can help us in replacing books,” says Principal Cheryl Elliott.
Walter-Green predicts students’ literature interests might be reflections of their individuality and inspire a newfound interest in reading. The educator looks forward to introducing students to more books with characters of color, disability or other relatable attributes.
“Society is a diverse cast of characters. People want to see themselves on the page. They don’t want to read about a life they cannot connect to,” Walter-Green explains. “If they see more diversity, they may be more willing to pick up a book. They might even find their future career through what they read and learned in the books the school provides.”