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Books del Sur curates Latin America Spanish-language literature to support dual language curriculum.
Books del Sur curates Latin America Spanish-language literature to support dual language curriculum.
Spanish Book Collections on shelves


Last week a dual language director called me and said, “my dual language teachers need more Spanish books.”


Yes, yes you do.  


For many reasons, but here are just a few from, It’s All About the Books by Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan on page 3.

  1. Numerous national and international studies have linked the number of books in a school to standardized test achievement.”
  2. “Classroom libraries … have the potential to increase student motivation, engagement, and achievement and help students become critical thinkers, analytical readers, and informed citizens.”
  3. “Fountas and Pinnell’s research suggests that teachers need between 300 and 600 titles in their classroom library.”
  4. “The International Reading Association recommends that schools need to have at least 7 books per student ...”
  5. “...The American Library Association suggest 300 titles in a classroom library with supplements from a well-stocked school library.”
  6. “Lucy Calkins wrote … ‘a general rule of thumb when provisioning for libraries is about 30 books per child as a starting point.’ ”
  7. “Kelly Gallagher (author of Readicide) suggests ‘that nothing less than a classroom book flood will suffice- not 200 titles but 2,000’.”

 Knowing that the average classroom does not have 300 Spanish books, I inquire as to what resources they do have. 

 What I learn is that they have recently invested in quite a few materials that fit the curriculum needs and maximized their previous year’s budget books. This is a typical response.  The classrooms mostly have a lot of translated materials.

 If you have had a similar experience here are a few things to consider.

  • There is not an understanding of the materials available. This occurs when teachers receive new materials and we have not had time to actually read them much less unpack the boxes.

 Suggestion: Spend a professional development day – aligning resources. It is a day where teachers bring their materials. Plan quiet time to read and have each teacher do a book talks to each other.

  • There has not been teacher input into what materials they actually want. This is also very common when schools and districts rush to start or move programs forward. They order materials. They arrive in classrooms during the summer and the school year starts. Often times teachers, don’t even know where they are.


Suggestion:  Before you place this year's order, dedicate some time toward looking at catalogs and materials together. Better yet, send them to a conference with that in mind. Instruct them to go to the exhibit hall and review materials.  This gives them some buy-in and also you great information.

  • Teachers and students need exposure to more books!

 Suggestion: Purchase classroom libraries.  Classroom libraries are the best way for teachers and students to explore many different titles.  Classroom libraries are useful for choice reading.  During the year teachers may learn about some texts that they would like to dive deeper into for book clubs or read alouds.  Then offer to order some of these titles for intentional classroom instruction that fit the curriculum.

  •  I am sure that teachers need more books, so it is important that they know what they have and what is available to them. 

 Suggestion:  Conduct a survey of the book collections available to them. Collect data, share the data, and align it to your priorities.  Books del Sur has developed a formal process of doing this and we’re happy to support you in it.  Contact for more information.


Check out the amazing resource: Mulligan, Tammy, and Clare Landrigan. It's All about the Books: How to Create Bookrooms and Classroom Libraries That Inspire Readers. Heinemann, 2018.

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