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The Five-Foot Bookshelf

Because it’s not just what you put in…it’s what you take away

New Covenant’s School of Rhetoric is now building your student’s personal library with The Five-Foot Bookshelf.  Most schools purchase textbooks for student use and cover the cost in tuition or with a separate book fee.  When the students graduate, they leave everything behind. 

Not at New Covenant.  “We’ve come to see this as a missed opportunity,” says Mr. Collins, the Academic Dean of the Upper School.  “Our students spend four years, not only reading a particular text, but often coming back to it.  We want them to take notes, scribble in the margin, and highlight parts that are important or interesting to them.  Then we want them to take it with them when they go.”

The Five-Foot Bookshelf is the first building block of a significant personal library.  The texts that are studied in the Upper School are eclectic because a significant part of the curriculum is rooted in primary sources. Students read classic essays, short stories, novels, plays, or short works from notable authors in their entirety.  Standard textbooks or anthologies attempt to cover a wide breadth, but few suffice as a complete text.  What is worse, such texts often put students out of contact with the authors being studied.  A classical education consistently overcomes this deficiency.  

 A student in today’s ninth grade is now beginning to develop a personal library.  By graduation he or she will have collected more than forty titles across the liberal arts.  Literature, political science, economics, classical languages, theology and philosophy – all of these and more – are represented on the Five-Foot Bookshelf.  Our hope is that this contributes tangibly to life-long learning and creates a storehouse of books that students will re-read for many years to come.