1. Books should be in all available formats: eBooks and audiobooks, large print, hard cover, paperback (there is no research that is definitive on whether kids prefer hardcover or paperback), ARCs (if you can get them), interactive apps, and anything else I might be leaving off this list.
On a related subject, in late January/early February of 2013, I will be "floating on" hundreds of audiobooks (yes, you read that correctly, hundreds). If you are a classroom teacher and would be amenable not only to adding audio but also collecting some "data" (kid responses, anonymous, plus perhaps a questionnaire), email me at terilesesneATgmailDOTcom and give me all the particulars: grade levels you teach, why you should get some of the swag, what you will do with it, etc.
2. Books should represent a wide range of genres and forms. I know my friend Paul Hankins includes picture books in Room 407. There is no reason picture books cannot be part of the tools at any grade level. Forget levels and lexiles. Add books based on YOUR reading of them and their appropriateness to your kids. But do be sure to have fair samplings of all genres and formats including graphic novels. In 2011, more than 300,000 graphic novels were read according to AR (and we know that is the tip of the iceberg, right, given all we know about AR). Make sure there is fantasy of all kinds (lovely Twitter discussion last night on sci fi and fantasy and whether they are separate genres) and not just dystopian stories. How about poetry? Traditional literature (folk tales and the like) shows kids motifs and archetpyes more effortlessly than anything I can think of. Historical fiction does not always circulate well, but if you booktalk it, they will come (think Field of Dreams) and remember that "history" to our kids is what happened this weekend.
3. Bookmarks would be good, too. I cannot tell you all the unusual items that become bookmarks for me. But if you create them (with booklists on them including "if you like ___________, then you will like these titles, too) and have them handy, so much the better.
4. Post its, sticky notes. I used to write in my books (one of the grandkids once read my annotated copy of THE CHOCOLATE WAR and told me it was like having the Cliff Notes inside the book). Now, I use sticky notes or Dragon Dictation or some other way of making and taking notes. Encourage kids to leave the sticky notes inside for the next reader perhaps.
5. Blankets, bean bag pillows, carpet squares and other comfy places to read. I read in a chair at home, but with feet drawn up and sideways usually. Sschool furniture does not accommodate this well. A blanket under a table can become a cozy reading den.
Okay, something new tomorrow I promise. I love this UNprogram. I would buy it, wouldn't you?