As we prepare to begin the 2009-2010 school year, I am thrilled to hear that our administration wants to highlight our literacy initiatives. We’ve had a successful voluntary reading program in place now for eight years and added several other programs in the last few years.
To kick off our Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) program three years ago, the former administration sponsored a contest to name it. The winning entry was “Reading Paws” – a play on words since our mascot is the bulldog. However, the name was not well promoted, and for the most part we still called that 15 minutes daily our SSR time.
In conjunction with Reading Paws, our literacy coach began a program to reward classes for doing an exceptional job with silent reading. Teachers could nominate their 4th block class (Reading Paws was held during that block) on the basis of participation and enthusiasm for reading. The winning class would win a free lunch from Chic-Fil-A. The first group to win was an English IV class who called themselves “radical readers.” The school literacy team loved the name and decided to name the program “Radical Readers.”
Reader of the Month
The next year to encourage individual readers, our literacy coach began our Readers of the Month program. Again, teachers could nominate students based on their enthusiasm for reading. The winning student each month received a Barnes and Noble gift card.
Bulldog Booklovers Club
In the fall of 2006, I asked our literacy coach to co-sponsor a book club that brought teachers and students together to discuss young adult literature. The Bulldog Booklovers Club was born and has continued to grow each year. The first year we averaged five members attending each meeting, but by the end of this school year we were averaging seventeen members in attendance.
Changes in the Air
The administration, literacy coach, and I have been discussing ways to increase participation in these initiatives this year. Creative ideas are being bandied about and excitement is in the air as we prepare to involve more faculty in promoting reading. Booktalks will become part of our student produced news program and both student and faculty written book reviews will be included in our student newspaper. The book club will expand to include meetings during lunch to accommodate those students who are unable to attend after school meetings.
B.O.W. and W.O.W.
This year I will be promoting a Book of the Week (B.O.W.) and Website of the Week (W.O.W.) by creating a display in the media center and posting them to the media center blog. I want to include a wide variety of books and sites that will be interesting and helpful to the students.
Any suggestions for the new initiative would be greatly appreciated!