The Teacher's Tool Kit For Literacy

Tantalising Texts and Classroom Libraries

Episode Summary

Literacy expert Sharon Callen talks about ‘tantalising texts’, why classroom libraries are so important and much more.

Episode Notes

Literacy expert Sharon Callen believes classroom libraries are incredibly important for literacy development in children.


Classroom libraries represent for many children the experiences that they will have with books - literature and informational - across a year of their school life. We should want to make it rich, be a collection that is enticing and accessible, and an entry point for every child into a rich and glorious world of reading, thinking, experiences and discussions. It should represent a collection of some of the best picture books to read aloud because they have features that entice children to want the books  to be read over and over again - rich language with rhythm, rhyme and repetition and interesting illustrations. 

The books must also be entertaining to read or to listen to. They must introduce students to some of the best children’s authors and illustrators from Australia and overseas, and be read over and over again because they become favourites. 

Children will eventually join in while being read to. This is the beginning of their independent reading.

Children should have opportunities every day to request favourites, have them read multiple times, so that children will soon be reading them independently.

What kind of reading materials?

Children’s expectations

Therefore classroom libraries are developed over the course of a year,  based on the children we are working with.

Most useful books for the library

How do we know which are the most useful to have in our classroom collections? 

Share the categories you can look for in your own classroom library, and talk with students about how the structure of the story helps them as a reader. 

Once you think of these as categories, you will soon find books that fit within these categories. These can be:

Maximising the power of the classroom library

This is an essential, and integrated part of the literacy toolkit for teachers and students. We teach through texts in the classroom library, and kids have daily access to choosing and using. Each child should also begin their own collection of texts with which they can do the work. Teachers should record the books children practice and read.

Teachers, as enabling adults, can create conditions that impact on the successful development of readers who learn to self-regulate and self-improve, develop their understanding about reading and how to use the information available to them through the cueing systems.

Responding to stories

Asking self questions, doing the thinking and the noticing.

Make personal evaluations by asking themselves questions such as:

Important questions to help children figure out how texts work.

Make class big books.

Write themselves.

Perform or retell in a different medium.

Show reactions as they read/listen

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The Teacher’s Tool Kit For Literacy is the free podcast for motivated teachers and school leaders who want the latest tips, tricks and tools to inspire their students and school community in literacy learning. 

Hear from literacy expert and founder of Cue Learning, Sharon Callen, and special guests.

At Cue Learning, our literacy specialists draw on over 30 years of teaching and international consulting experience to deliver world-class learning solutions. We equip, empower and support teachers to become their authentic selves. 

To find out about upcoming webinars, and about how Cue can help you and your school, visit the Cue Learning website

And you can get even more amazing teaching resources, right now, at Teachific

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Produced by Apiro Media