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language arts

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How can English language arts teachers create a literacy-rich environment in their classrooms?

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    Books, books, books!

    And then more books.

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    I was fortunate enough for 14 years to have a classroom with the majority of two of the walls in bookshelves. It was wonderful. There were many books already in that classroom (in addition to textbooks), and I had lots more at home that I brought to school and kept on those shelves. Whenever my students wanted to read something from those shelves, they simply signed for them in a spiral notebook I kept for that purpose. A classroom library is powerful.

    I also found that the school's library had a wonderful art print collection, so every 4-6 weeks or so, I'd go in and find different ones to put on the other two walls! Sometimes I'd choose by artist (all Van Gogh prints or all Gauguin or whatever struck me that time) and sometimes I'd choose by theme.

    Between the books and the art prints and an outside-reading requirement I always put into the grading scale for each class, no matter the grade level or the type of English (AP or Humanities/Lit or a transitional class for former ESL students), there was lots of reading going on among my students. Not 100%, for sure, but pretty high!

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