Hoarding is not collection development
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Writers Voices

Writers’ Voices series

Submitter: Look what gems we found in our collection; dusty, middle chapters from lots of books! They are a series of middle chapters of stories meant especially to be used by literacy volunteers. There is a blurb about the author in them and reading comprehension questions; sometimes even a map of countries or places mentioned in the reading. They’re thorough and well meaning teasers that have never been checked out from our stacks. These have been unused and stacked in the back of our collection for many moons.  Twenty seven cliff hangers in the weeding.

Holly: They look kind of cool, so they’re not awful library books in and of themselves. As Submitter points out, though, they’ve been unused and taking up space for a while. THAT makes them ALB’s. Maybe a local literacy council would like them.  I don’t really get the middle chapter part, though. Why wouldn’t they give you the first couple of chapters to suck you in and make you want to read the rest? If you just grab a few chapters from the middle of the book, you’re missing all kinds of context. That makes for confusion and frustration – not reading comprehension!

2 Responses to Writers Voices

  • I once was a volunteer in a sixth-grade classroom that used a reading book like this. It gave one chapter out of a book, then questions about the chapter, then a chapter out of another book… the only thing they had in common was featuring children of the same approximate age as the class.

    It was incredibly boring. The kids clearly disliked it, the teachers were struggling with it. I guess the idea was that if some chapter struck your fancy, you could find the rest of the book, but since there had been no coordination with the school library, that was a futile hope. The other idea, apparently, was that children “now” have such short attention spans (this was 1975 or so) that reading a whole book was too much to hope for.

    And the art was bad. Even for 70s art, it was bad.

    I agree with Holly: If you MUST do this sort of thing (probably so you can use the material under “fair use” principles), start with the first chapter or so.

  • When I was helping my former husband learn to read English I came across a few of these when trying to find resources and things for him to read that weren’t for kids. I came across the “True Stories” books on Amazon and those worked really well because they were interesting, had skill levels, and still had the questions, etc. at the end.