Teen Read Week 2011

Teen Read Week is historically observed the third week of October, but that week is also the time for our fall state testing.  The library is used for testing, eliminating the opportunity for us to sponsor events that week.  No problem!  Those of us in education understand the importance of flexibility.

This year, our Teen Read Week wasn’t celebrated until the week of Oct.31st – Nov. 4th. The theme of Picture It @your library offered many possibilities and we decided to experiment with all new (to us) ideas and activities.

Bookmark Yourself

To begin the week, we borrowed Cathy Nelson‘s “Bookmark Yourself” idea allowing students to personalize bookmarks (with or without their photos – it’s amazing the number of students who don’t want their picture taken).  The activity was popular and is one we will use again.

Pictionary with Book Titles

One morning before school, we played Pictionary with book titles.  Now, I can’t draw worth a lick, but I have enjoyed playing Pictionary before and hoped our students would, too.  Armed with a whiteboard stand, some Expo markers and an eraser, and 15 book titles written on folded slips of paper, I enticed students (some might say I pounced on them) as soon as they began entering the library at 7:30.  Students wander into and out of the library for the 35 minutes we are open before school and at one point we had fifteen students playing Pictionary.  They loved it! Again, this is an activity we will repeat.

Name that Book Contest and Luncheon

Our piece de resistance was the Name that Book Contest and Luncheon held on Friday. (I first wrote about the activity here but did alter my original plans to only use 2012 SCYABA nominees.)  Again, I bow to Cathy Nelson who got my mental wheels (they are quite rusty) moving when she shared her (brilliant! fantabulous!) Books 2 Pics idea with me this summer.  And I must thank my intern, Sheila Roberts, and my co-librarian, Jay Campbell, for their hard work.  Each created slides that rocked! for five books.

Because our school population has grown considerably but our cafeteria has not, we now have four twenty-five minute lunch periods.  Students signed up to participate and by Thursday afternoon, all slots were filled. (Valuable lesson learned last year during Teen Read Week – line up alternates for the game.)

Students quickly reported to the library when their lunch period began and helped themselves to pizza, soda, and cookies.  While they ate, I explained the rules of Name that Book.  The bidding war began when the first book’s clue was provided.  Only one of the four lunch groups completed the game by identifying (or trying to identify) all fifteen books.  All groups had a blast and said they’d love to play the game again.

Teen Read Week 2011 has come and gone, but the memories created will linger for quite some time.  The thrill of implementing new activities and have them succeed is deeply satisfying.  I love teens and their passion and enthusiasm!

Can YOU Name that Book?  The slide above represents one of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominees for 2012.  Any idea which one?

Starting the Year Running: Collaborating on Literature Circles

During the summer, I visit my school library once a week to water plants.  One June day as I strolled through the library,  I noticed how many “sets” of books were sitting on the YABA and fiction shelves.

Each year I order multiple copies of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award (SCYABA) nominees and often recommend them (as well as non-nominee titles) to our book club officers for consideration.

Once the book club officers and sponsors select a title for discussion, I order more copies to ensure all book club members will have the opportunity to read it before our meeting.  These two factors (book club-selected title and SCYABA nominee) mean we have five or more copies of certain titles.

Why not?

Several discussions over the last year with my book club co-sponsor have focused on the lack of enough class sets of YA titles for her English II classes to read and discuss.

Light bulb moment:  why not examine the titles with multiple copies in the library to determine if they contained common themes?  When I did, I realized that many were either based on abuse or dystopia.  Why not suggest using these titles in classroom literature circles?

I emailed Barbara, my book club co-sponsor, with the idea and she loved it.

So the year’s first collaborative effort was born.

Literature Circles

I admit that in order to ensure we could offer each of her two classes six titles from which to choose, I had to stretch each theme just a bit.  Listed below are the titles we are using.

Abuse:  The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin, What Happened to Cass McBride by Gail Giles, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Things Change by Patrick Jones, Hate List by Jennifer Brown, and Shattering Glass by Gail Giles

Dystopia: Unwind by Neal Shusterman, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Epitaph Road by David Patneaude, and Epic by Conor Kostick

Planning

On the first day of the collaboration, I would visit the class and booktalk each of the titles being offered as a selection for them.  Students would complete the Title Choice Sheet I provided and Barbara and I would each take one class’s set of Title Choice Sheets and record the students’ first, second, and third choices.  I would use those sheets as I created each class’s literature circles.

After I left the classroom on the first day, Barbara would explain literature circles to the students and assign “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst. This piece would be the basis for lit circle practice.

On the second day, students would practice two things:

  1. preparing for a lit circle discussion using one of the roles (Discussion Director, Illustrator, Summarizer, Fortune Teller, or Literary Luminary)
  2. participating in a lit circle

Barbara would assign a role to each row in her class.  The rows would circle up and, using the role handout, decide what their role would bring to a lit circle discussion. Barbara and I would listen to each group as they planned.  If we felt it was needed, we would provide direction.

After twenty minutes, Barbara would disband the role groups and have them regroup in lit circles composed of students representing the five roles for which they had just prepared. Barbara and I would would visit each lit circle and provide guidance as needed.

On the third day, I would announce the literature circles and distribute the books I had already checked out to each student.  When I left class, Barbara would again discuss the purpose and workings of a literature circle and allow each lit circle to meet to plan how they would progress (the roles each would assume and the pages that would be read for each of the circle’s five meetings).

Ready, Set, Go!

We put our plan into motion on Aug. 16th (the first week of the 2011-2012 school year).  The students were excited about having a choice in their first class read and did exceptionally well on the second day as they took part in the small group discussions. I looked forward to checking in on their progress and asking for their feedback on this venture.

Overwhelming Success!

Students made class presentations on Friday, Sept. 2nd.  Each group sat in front of the class and shared a summary of their book, real life lessons they had gleaned from it, and then explained the posters that each individual had made on their book.  (The requirements for the poster included three symbols, five quotations, and three things that represented a character.)

I was able to join both classes on Friday and listen to several presentations.  Impressive!  But I didn’t have to wait until that day to know that our lit circles were being successful:  just a week after the students received their book, several boys came to the library to check out the sequel to their novel.  They had finished well in advance of what we had planned and wanted to know what happened next in the story.

Flexibility

Mrs. DeLac is the co-sponsor of our book club and had shared with her classes the novels we would be reading for our September meeting.  One young lady read Angry Management by Chris Crutcher and asked if she could present that novel to the class rather than create a poster on her lit circle novel.  She still assisted her lit circle group with their presentation, but she was so blown away by Crutcher’s book that she wanted to share it with others.  Mrs. DeLac’s flexibility in allowing this student to share another book demonstrated her desire to encourage her students to read for pleasure and talk with others about what they read.

Passion, enthusiasm, and the desire to read for pleasure. A winning combination for our first attempt with Literature Circles!

Image used through a Creative Commons License:

“Reading Time”

I Can Name that Book in One Pic!

Can you name that book in 5 pics?

A bit earlier this summer, my good friend Cathy Nelson shared her thoughts with me as she began planning for this fall’s Teen Read Week (sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association). She has several great ideas (see her post here), but the one that immediately captured my attention was her Books2Pics slides.  For each book, she created a slide containing pictures of several of its key elements. Her plan is to have one displayed each day during Teen Read Week and challenge the students to identify the book.

Because the idea looked just plain fun to me, when I finished reading one of the 2012 South Carolina Young Adult Book Award (SCYABA) nominees, I created a Books2Pics slide and shared it with Cathy and another good friend (and the third of the original Three Media Musketeers) Heather Loy, challenging them to “Name that Book.”

After I had created three of these slides (I’m telling you, it’s addictive!), I finally had that light bulb moment.  All of the YA books I am currently reading are from the 2012 SCYABA nominee list (gotta be familiar with those books!).  Why not sponsor a “Name that Book” contest during Teen Read Week similar to our YA Lit Jeopardy contest last year?

Name that Tune

For those of you not old enough to remember the “Name that Tune” game show, during the Bid a Note portion of the show two contestants vied for prizes by identifying songs from just a few notes.  A bidding “war” took place before one contestant had to name the song.  Contestant One would say, “I can name that tune in 5 notes” and Contestant Two would either counter by saying, “I can name that tune in 3 notes” or “Name that tune,” placing Contestant One in the hot seat to name the song from just the number of notes he/she had bid.

Each of the book slides I have created contains five photographs of key elements in the book.  I have used PowerPoint’s Customize Animation feature so that only one photograph will appear on the slide each time the mouse is clicked.  Two students, or teams of students, will challenge each other to “Name that Book” in 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 photograph(s).  Since all books in the game come from the 2012 SCYABA nominees, there will be no need to give individual hints before each new slide.

“Picture It @ Your Library” is this year’s theme for Teen Read Week making this contest a perfect fit.  I can only hope that the students will have as much fun playing “Name that Book” as I have had creating it!

Maximum Marketing

While researching for my “Ramp up Reading with Technology” sessions at the 2011 Upstate Technology Conference (Greenville, South Carolina), I stumbled across two free iPhone apps for YA lit:  the Maximum Ride Fang and the Maximum Ride Angel apps.

I excitedly installed the Fang app on my phone (I am such a geek!), considering the marketing possibilities that mobile devices offer for publishing companies and authors.  With the Fang app, you can quiz yourself:  “Who’s Your Flock Mate?” and take a photo of yourself with Max and Fang.  (Tried the photo with Fang – not very good quality unfortunately.)

With the Angel app, you can quiz yourself:  “How Max Are You?” and read the first 21 chapters of the book.  You also get a sneak preview of the audiobook.

With the rise in popularity of mobile devices, I’m surprised that publishers haven’t put more focus into developing free apps for YA series.  Seems this would be a promising playground for book promotion.    

You Can Take the Librarian out of the Library, but…..

I’m into my third week of summer vacation and loving every hectic and relaxing minute of it.  I have been back to the school library a few times to water plants, check on the mail that piles up over the summer, and just visit with office staff.

Today after stopping by the school library, I headed over to my local pubic library branch (two libraries in one day – nirvana!).  I had to return a couple of public library books that had been left in lockers at school  (those rascally kids!) and also turn in one of my book reviews for our public library’s Rock and Read summer reading program.

As I walked in the door, I heard my name being called – one of my favorite students was in the library with her aunt checking out  a load of books to carry home.  When I asked her if she was participating in the teen summer reading program, she said “no” and then gave her aunt a strange look.  Turns out her aunt reads as much as she does and wasn’t participating in the adult reading program.

So here I am, a school librarian, encouraging one of my students and her aunt to join the public library’s summer reading program.  Then up walks another one of my students who is also – gasp – not participating in the summer reading program.  Can I keep my mouth shut?  Or do I urge her to sign up, too?  Whadda ya think?

Photo attribution:

“Relaxing on the Beach” by Andrew Osterberg

http://www.flickr.com/photos/virtualphotographystudio/2890301351/in/set-72157607796135691

Video: South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominees 2011-2012

South Carolina YABA 2011-2012 Video

The nominees for the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award for the 2011-2012 school year were announced earlier this month.  To encourage interest in the books, I promote them in a variety of ways:

  • SCASL Book Award Committee Brochure (contains book cover images and blurbs for each book)
  • SCYABA bookmarks (Follett Library Resources generously provides one free set of 50 for each SCASL Conference attendee)
  • bulletin boards
  • book displays
  • booktalks
  • book trailers
  • Animoto video

For the past two years, I have created an Animoto video of the nominees and have shared it here.  (Animoto allows you to upload the video to YouTube, but because YouTube is blocked in most (if not all) of SC schools, I usually share the Animoto link.)

What other ways have you promoted your state award list nominees?

Dr. Stephen Krashen: Education is Not Broken; the Problem is Poverty

Tori Jensen shared this YouTube video with me today.  It is worth the time it takes to watch it!

Do you want proof that school libraries are a major part of the solution to our problem in education?  Watch this video!  Do you want to know where we can get the money to support school libraries?  Watch this video!

As an aside, do you want to know three ways to prevent dementia?  Watch this video!

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