A few weeks ago two fourth graders, Emma and Anna, approached me about starting a scary book club. We created a flyer together. Then they talked to both fourth grade classes to invite them to joint the club if interested.
Then two days after the scary book club got organized two more fourth graders, Christopher and Dillon, approached me about a fantasy reading club. And so the fourth grade book clubs were born. I had two different groups of excited students in the library today during recess talking about the books they are reading in their favorite genre, looking at the shelves to find new book, and making lists for future reading. The enthusiasm of these kids reminds me of why I am a school librarian. 🙂
The students will continue to meet periodically from March to May to share their favorite books and find new ones to read. I am so impressed with the initiative of these students to organize these clubs.
Summer may have passed, but we are still celebrating! Today we had our Summer Reading Challenge Celebration. Our school read 172,643 minutes this summer. Our goal was 100,000 minutes. We had 142 (of just over 300) students participate in the challenge. We had 37 students read over 1,200 minutes this summer, and those students were invited to a special celebration after school. Parents were invited to come as well because we realize that parents have a lot to do with students reading over the summer months. Students were awarded a certificate of achievement for their reading efforts. Students also were able to select a new book or receive a gift certificate for a new book at our upcoming book fair in November. Many of the students chose to delay gratification and take the gift certificate. They will certainly have something to look forward to when our book fair comes next month! We served a delicious cake and punch, too. Finally, students shared their favorite read from the summer and posed for pictures. Check out those smiling faces! Great job and congratulations to our summer readers!
Field Trip! Steve Sheinkin visited the Central Branch of the Rochester Public Library today, and my fifth grade students, along with the 5th grade teachers and myself went! There is nothing more exciting, I think, than to hear an author talk about their work: their ideas, their process, their challenges. Some people get excited when they see a famous actor; I get excited when I see an author.
Steve talked to a large group of students about four of his recent titles: The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery; Bomb: The Race to Build- and Steal- the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon; Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight For Civil Rights; and Lincoln’s Grave Robbers. Steve captivated the students with details from the books without giving too much away. He had just enough creepy/grossness factor to entertain a large group of 10-11 year olds and shared how he started writing, mostly by accident. He wanted to create films when he grew up, then started writing textbooks, then moved on to his fascinating narrative nonfiction books. He patiently answered questions from many students, autographed a book for a student, and even posed for a picture with me.
After the fifth graders listened to Steve talk, they had lunch in the courtyard on a beautiful sunny day. Then, we took the students to the children’s section to check out books! Some students were getting their own library card, others had brought their library cards from home. The students had an awesome time judging by the pictures below.
Steve Sheinkin talks to the students at Rochester Public Library
Taking a moment to read
Lined up outside the library to see Steve Sheinkin
Looking for a good book to share
Steve Sheinkin and I
Our students have been reading The World According To Humphrey as part of our TJ Connor reads. They are so excited about the book. They are answering trivia questions each week, talking with each other and staff about the book, and even sharing drawings! This picture was drawn by a first grader and shared with Margaret Wright, our principal today, who immediately had the student share it with me! I asked for a copy and it now hangs proudly in our library!
First Grader, Miguel, draws Humphrey
The World According To Humphrey is ready for delivery!
At TJ Connor Elementary we celebrated World Read Aloud Day is a BIG way… or little, if you consider the size of the main character. Today we began our annual TJ Connor Reads where everyone in the school reads the same book. This year we chose to read The World According To Humphrey by Betty Birney. Now do you see what I mean by “little”?
Kick Off Assembly
We began the day with an opening assembly. The students watched a skit where teachers and staff portrayed some of the characters from the book. The students had to try to guess what the book was that we will be reading. A few students knew the answer! After the assembly we had our first DEAR (Drop Everything And Read). Everyone listened to a teacher read the first chapter of The World According To Humphrey in their classrooms.
Mrs. Farrell reads Humphrey to her kindergarten class.
In the afternoon, we handed out a copy of the book to each family, having students come to the library with their siblings to receive the book. The excitement throughout the day was palpable! Humphrey is going to be a great story to read!
To wrap up our World Read Aloud Day, we hosted a pajama story time in the evening. Students and their families were invited to come to school to listen to some bedtime stories in their pjs! We had teachers and staff in the cafetorium and the library reading to students and their families.
But the fun doesn’t end just because World Read Aloud Day does. We have plenty more planned for our three weeks. Students and staff can answer trivia questions each week about Humphrey’s book to win prizes. We will have several more DEAR reading times. We have guest readers coming to visit our classrooms to read a favorite book. And we have therapy dogs stopping in for a visit! At our closing assembly, we will also announce the winner of our Principal Tuck-in contest! One lucky student will have our principal, Margaret Wright, come to their house to read bedtime stories and bring a snack! Who says reading isn’t fun?
Perhaps I have become enamored with social media. Or, perhaps, more likely, I just love to talk about books. I have started a new blog called Unabridged Reader so I can share the great books that I read with everyone who wants to hear. Part of the reason for the new blog is writing reviews for NetGalley. NetGalley offers advance reading copies of books to librarians. In the past, I just shared my review on NetGalley, but a wider audience is preferred, I believe. NetGalley and the publishers like to hear and read what people think about their books. Another reason for the blog is that I joined the Kid Lit Frenzy Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. I pledged to read 80 nonfiction books this year and share them. I think a blog is a great way to do that. I have been a GoodReads member since 2008, and love GoodReads, but I needed a blog to inspire (or maybe just prod) me to think and write more about the books I read. So, please take a peek at my new blog, follow it, even, and maybe you will find a great next read for yourself. Happy Reading!