What Do You Do with Those Advance Reading Copies?: A Summer Reading Project

It never fails that I overload on Advance Reading Copies of books at conferences I attend, and then I just can’t manage to get to all of them to read.  I do in fact read many of them, but then I’m left with a stack of books sitting in my office. As we approach summer, I’m always wondering how to get more books in kids’ hands for summer reading. We promote our incredible public library summer reading programs, but I know that even with talking it up, some kids just won’t make it over there.

I decided to give our 4th graders (rising 5th graders) an opportunity for the summer.  I took all of those ARCs I had read as well as some that I hadn’t read and spread them out on tables.  Each class came to the library and I gave a quick spiel to them about how I really needed to hear their voices about some books that we might purchase for the library.  I encouraged students that even if they didn’t find a book that jumped out at them they should try something new and stretch themselves as readers.  This is something I’m wanting to do more of next year because I think it’s so important for students to help build the collection in the library.  By allowing them to read the ARCs and give their opinions, they are owning the collection and will also be more likely to recommend books to their friends if they have chosen them.

Each student had a chance to go to the tables and select a book. I book talked ones that I had read and listened in as students made their decisions. I loved that every student took a book. Then, they filled out a paper with their name, book title, and author so that I could keep up with who got which book.  Finally, students moved to another area where they put a label inside their book with a place for their name as well as a link to a Flipgrid where they can record their thoughts over the summer.

I’ve never tried this as a summer opportunity, so it’s a bit of an experiment. I’m curious to see how many students follow through with recording their Flipgrids. Even if they don’t, I have a record of their books so that I can at least check in with them in the fall to see if they read their book.

If they liked the experience, then perhaps these students will want to take this on as a project next year when I get ARCs in the mail or at conferences.

Surprise summer book giveaway for our @fourthgradebarrow #athensga #barrowbuddies #summerreading #arc #reading #librariesofinstagram

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Happy Summer Reading!

All Aboard for Picture Book Month

Picture book month is coming to a close, but big celebrations, surprises, and planning are happening in the Barrow Media Center.  Just today, I have been brainstorming with teachers about upcoming units and almost every grade level is preparing to begin persuasive writing.  We are thinking of sponsoring a writing contest in the media center where students write persuasive essays on the importance of picture books, but I’m still playing around with this idea and what I might actually make the “topic” of the contest be.

Also, today, I was surprised to find an envelope in my box with a donation from a group of community members in honor of someone’s birthday.  I was able to order several new picture books (and chapter books) to add to our collection.

Finally, a big surprise arrived at our school today:  an autographed copy of The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.  Mrs. Lori Frumkin used to be a teacher at our school and is now working with the Chicago Public Library.  She heard Chris Van Allsburg talking about is books to several groups, and she remembered how special Polar Express Day is at Barrow and got a copy of the book autographed for our school.  Thank you so much, Mrs. Frumkin!

We are planning our Polar Express Day for December 15th and decorating has begun.  We’re also planning a Polar Express Alumni Night.  Later this week, Mrs. Rockholt and I will be preparing hundreds of certificates for students who participated in picture book month.  What an exciting time!

Book Choice Champions Unpacking Time

Today, the 11 boys of the Book Choice Champions enrichment cluster gathered today to unpack the first shipment of books that they ordered for the library.  Each student had a job to do during this process which included:

  • Unpacking books and checking for damage and correct processing
  • Highlighting the packing slip
  • Stamping books with the media center stamp
  • Displaying books on tables
  • Taking pictures of books for marketing on BTV and our enrichment fair
  • Repacking books into boxes for the enrichment fair

It was an efficient process that took about 20-25 minutes.  Two students agreed to come back during their lunch & recess to work on an Animoto video of the books and a video of the process.  Here’s their final products:

 

The Book Choice Champions will share their process at our enrichment fair tomorrow Tuesday November 29, 2011 at 5:25PM at Barrow Elementary.  Once the fair is over, these students will have first choice of the books to checkout and the remaining books will be available for checkout Wednesday morning.  I can’t wait to see how fast they all get checked out this time!

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Book Choice Champions Final Steps

The Book Choice Champions, a group of 11 boys in 2nd-5th grades, finalized their project today.  Their job has been to use a budget of $1500 to purchase books for the media center that are about topics that students are interested in.  They’ve been through a long process, including surveying 199 students at our school.  Last week, they finalized their book order and now we are waiting on it to come in.  Today, the boys made some final pieces to advertise the books as well as show people the process they went through.  Some worked on posters.  Others made a commercial for BTV, while others worked on an Animoto of the process.  Even though today was our last official meeting, several of the boys want to continue meeting to plan ways to promote the books to the school.  One idea was to take pictures of all of the books and make another Animoto for BTV.  Here is the Animoto that they made today to show the process that they went through.

Book Choice Champions.

Gaiman…the picture book author?

Many of you have enjoyed reading Coraline and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, but did you know that he also writes picture books?  We just received two new picture books in our media center, and I really enjoyed reading them.  They have the same quirkiness and uniqueness that Gaiman’s novels have.

In Crazy Hair, Gaiman writes in rhyming text that tells the story of a man with crazy hair.  When a girl comments that she thinks the man has crazy hair, he proceeds to describe just how crazy his hair really is.  From tigers and bears to hot air balloons, there’s all kinds of things inside this man’s hair!  The illustrations are full of life and take the reader on a journey through each strand of twisted, tangled hair.  David McKean has a knack for creating illustrations that are curious and unique.  A reader can enjoy simply flipping through the illustrations to see what he can find.   Get lost in the maze of craziness by reading Crazy Hair.

In Wolves in the Walls, illustrator Dave McKean creates eery pictures that compliment Gaiman’s spooky story.  Lucy and her family live in an old house that is full of noises.  Lucy knows that there are wolves in the walls and her family knows that if the wolves come out, it’s all over.  This is a great story to read in the dark or to read aloud.  I loved how the text changes sizes because it helps you know when to make your voice really quiet or really loud if you are reading aloud.  Even though this is a creepy tale, stick with it because you might just find out that having wolves in the walls isn’t so bad after all.

Stop by the media center and soon and take a look at these two new books.