As a kid I was always excited at the start of the school year to enter my new classroom, meet my new teacher, see which friends were in my classes and, most importantly, discover what new books I was going to read over the next ten months. I also remember the school library being one of my favorite places as I didn't live near a public library so my only options were to re-read the few books we had at home and wait anxiously for school to begin so I could go to the library each week. These memories come back every year because as an educator I still get excited about the beginning of school.
This year as I thought about students, books, and equitable access I realized that we have come a long way. Not only do many of our students have access to both public and school libraries during summer vacation, they also have continued access to a large collection of eBooks that are at their fingertips each and every day. While this might not excite every kid, I imagine there are many who just like me simply can't get enough of a favorite author or series.
New York State has offered access to myON Reader to all children and a large majority of school districts across the state are provided access to OverDrive through their school library systems and/or public libraries. The increased use of eBooks over the past year has proven that we are moving in the right direction by promoting independent reading through online access as well as offering kids a variety of titles, authors, and genres to choose from. I have also noticed that kids are engaging with us more frequently by suggesting titles to purchase through the OverDrive platform.
As a self-described bookworm, I also have to admit that I often pop in to the "most popular" collection to see what children are reading and it ALWAYS makes me smile to see that, my favorite, Charlotte's Web is perpetually on the list!