reading (8)


Well, isn't that the life of a teacher librarian? We are constantly changing what we do and how we do it.

This summer I moved every book in my library and discarded some very old non-essential materials and made lists to replace them with 21st century materials. I also dumped all of my VHS tapes. Yes, you read this correctly. ALL VHS tapes are gone.

There are two reasons for dumping the technology. First, it is ancient technology in schools today when we have laptops instead of DVD players, LCD projectors, and electronic whiteboards. None of the teachers have VHS players in their rooms. None of the teachers have TVs in their rooms. We have one TV in the entire building located in the lobby and it is not to be used for TV shows.

Second, like most people we download, we subscribe, we stream, or we play from a DVD in our laptops. We may be replacing student laptops with Chromebooks so we will only have teacher laptops left in our building. So, out with the VHS tapes. I have spent a lot of time ridding the library of ancient tech and I think I am almost at the end. Baby steps but steps indeed.

Third, I needed the space for my students. I teach in a PK - 4th grade school where very few children reach my shoulder before 4th grade. Due to lack of space my books were shelved on 72" shelves where many students could not reach them and certainly did not maintain the integrity of the shelf once a book was removed. I spread out the books by reclaiming four three-foot 72" tall units and so could lower books for my shorter students, raise individual shelf height to accommodate tall books and make the library look much neater.

I shifted my non-fiction materials, weeded a few I went, to take back those shelves. By doing so I was able to shift my biographies into the non-fiction section and put them at a better height as well. I also reorganized my picture book section by AR level. Our school enjoys using AR and I wanted to make the sections more distinct. I spent a great deal of time color coding levels and reshelving. Books without AR quizzes are shelved at the end of the section to be revisited and enjoyed.

I finished reorganizing the fiction section of the library by genre. My students loved that I did this last year as it made the sections easier to access and when students asked where the fiction sports books were shelved, I could point to a section. I also removed a computer table and two chairs in order to make way for two recycled seating benches. I want my kids to enjoy sitting and reading on days where we are free to just read.

My next goal is to replace some of the old furnishings in the library. I have a GoFundMe account set up so if you are interested in see what has been done and want to help out, go here:

Thanks and enjoy!


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Bringing the Outside In: Visual Ways to Engage Reluctant Readers Bringing the Outside In: Visual Ways to Engage Reluctant Readers by Sara B. Kajder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars Sara Kajder did a great job of chronicling her use of Web 2.0 tools to engage reluctant high school readers. The introduction credits Kajder with inviting students in and teaching them as readers using the tools of technology. This book is about becoming a more effective reading teacher and challenges all teachers "to step into the twenty-first century along with our students. We need to catch up." I loved all of her stories about the many students and the different ways she was able to slowly reach out to them and gives us student exemplars to further our understanding. Using 7 different chapters the author uses students and Personal Narrative, Digital Stirytelling, Literacy Narrative, Marking a Path Through Text, Working with Words, The Visual Think Aloud and Making Meaning to engage the reluctant reader(s). Ultimately she invites us to "examine, play, invent, reinvent, and join in the conversation." A terrific read and resource, it has helped me with booktalking and digital booktalks. View all my reviews >>
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LIT framework from WLMA

In Jan 2010 WLMA advocates drafted a great one-page School LIT Program framework, pasted below. I shared it today with the British Columbia Teacher Librarian's Association leadership meeting in Kewlona, BC. In a similar way, they announced their new "Points of Inquiry" framework as the culmination of three years work. Here's to sharing!

School Library Information and Technology Programs for 21st Century Learning
Mission: To ensure that students are effective users and producers of information and ideas
Three essential functions of Teacher-Librarians:
  1. Information and Technology Literacy Instruction
  2. Reading Advocacy
  3. Information Management and Services
The scope and mix of these functions will depend on the program priorities and goals of each local school district and school building.
  1. Information and technology literacy instruction
  • Leads information literacy instruction including evaluation and analysis of the credibility, relevance and currency of information
  • Coaches instructional staff in support of curriculum, information technology and information management
  • Teaches students to be critical consumers and producers of information
  • Teaches students and staff to use emerging learning technologies for school and lifelong learning
  • Teaches students to be safe, ethical and responsible digital citizens
  1. Reading advocacy
  • Establishes and models a powerful, fashionable and ubiquitous culture of reading in the school community
  • Motivates and guides students to read for enjoyment and understanding
  • Develops a relevant collection of fiction and non-fiction in a variety of formats, ensuring quality reading choices for all students
  • Manages resources in support of established curriculum and student passions
  1. Information management and services
  • Provides open and equitable access to resources, technology and information services for the entire school community
  • Develops and administers inviting and effective physical and digital library environments
  • Manages resources to support teaching and learning
  • Administers information management systems to support student learning and school and district programs

Program framework development group (January, 2010):
Secondary Level
  • Marianne Hunter, NTCB (North Thurston S.D.)
  • Stephen Coker (Rainier S.D.)
  • Sarah Applegate, NTCB (North Thurston S.D.)
  • Mark Ray (Vancouver S.D.)
  • Roz Thompson (Tumwater S.D.)
Middle Level
  • Linda Collins (University Place S.D.)
  • Linda King (Yakima S.D.)
  • Leigh Lohrasbi (Yakima S.D.)
  • Nancy Mowat, NBCT (Bellevue S.D.)
Elementary Level
  • Dave Sonnen (Edmonds S.D.)
  • Wayne Osborn, NBCT (Clover Park S.D.)
  • Laura Berry, NBCT (Issaquah S.D.)
  • Steve Goodwin (Edmonds S.D.)
Higher Education
  • Mike Eisenberg (University of Washington)
  • John Marino (University of Washington)
  • Betty Marcoux (University of Washington)
  • Lorraine Bruce (University of Washington)
  • Christie Kaaland (Antioch University)
With additional contributions from Lisa Layera Brunkan, Washington Coalition for School Libraries and Information Technology and Colet Bartow, Montana Office of Public Instruction.
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Let Them Read!

Children become confident readers by becoming comfortable with what they are reading. For some kids this happens early in their school careers. For others, it takes more time. Confidence comes before good reading. If the material a child is allowed to read is censured then we may be limiting the joy a child finds in reading and it's possible they may never become a joyful reader. I had a teacher ask me last year if he should let a non reader-a student who didn’t like to read-do a book report using the child’s choice of books - “Captain Underpants.” I resoundingly said yes.Children should not be reading adult material but there is absolutely nothing wrong with Captain Underpants, comic books or any book a child picks up and takes a joy in reading!My 16 year old daughter began reading for pleasure when she discovered the Captain Underpants books. I was so happy I bought every book in the series. After Captain Underpants she moved on to R. L. Stine. I think she was trying to drive me crazy, but none the less, we built our library of R.L. Stine. When her teacher told her she couldn’t read R. L. Stine…well, you don’t want to hear that parent teacher conversation. My daughter’s favorite author is now Maya Angelou. If a child wants to read, let them read whatever they like as long as it’s not illegal!A child reads books they are capable of reading. No one wants to read a grade level book more than a child does. Peer pressure exists even in the library. I've had many students over the years walking around with a book that they couldn't read, but it was socially acceptable. One little boy would sit and appear to be reading just so he fit in. When he came to my room, he'd take a deep breath, put the book down and get a book he could actually read. In my room he could read for pleasure without fear of being judged by his peers. Eventually this young man was able to read the books he really wanted to. It just took him a little extra time.I couldn’t have been happier than when one of my fourth grade students, hearing impaired, with a learning disability, and English as a Second Language Learner, came to me and asked to read me a book. She’d been reading this book on her own every chance she got and I noticed she’d been keeping it in her desk in my room. We sat, me in my teacher chair, her in the blue student chair, and she read “Go Dog Go,” by Dr. Seuss. When she was done she looked up at me with such happiness and pride in her face. I could have cried. I gave her the biggest hug and she hugged me back even harder. She excitedly took the book back to her general education classroom to read again to her classroom teacher.Confidence is what it takes to be a good reader. If a child doesn’t like to read, open up their possibilities. Make the books they read their choice. Then, don’t make any judgments. Just let them read.
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Literacy Leads the Way

As a part of the literacy professional community, as a school librarian, I received an invitation through my school district to join other literacy professionals as a participant in Online Course Work targeting the theme Literacy Leads the Way.The overall objective is for literacy professionals to increase their literacy building expertise so as to provide appropriate activities to build reading fluency, develop oral language, world knowledge; and, to build listening/reading comprehension as well as to ensure wide exposure to literature lending supportive ideas for building inner dialogue for reading comprehending and written composition.Additionally, I am presently working on a media project with my library book club students. We are in the process of creating a DVD which exhibits the students discussing inclusive of props depicting their favorite books read for the Book Contest held in my district. The slide show will include voiced audio and music. The students are very excited and so am I!
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Reading like crazy!

Now that the quarter is over, my elementary school is on winter break, and all the Christmas cookies are baked; I can settle down and read all those books I have missed since September! I've read "Found" by Margaret Peterson Haddix, "Savvy", and am reading "House of Many Ways" by Diane Wynne Jones. I have the book "Dark as Gold", a Rumplestiltstin variation, but am looking for a few more that may be on Newbery lists. Any suggestions out there?
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Looking for "real" reading incentives

I want to see our student reading because they are soooo excited about a new book. I believe that we can entice our students to read using all these wonderful Web 2.0 tools and look forward to watching them grow and share their reading experiences. We'll be using blogs, podcasts, book discussions both online and live group, Photostories, scrapbooking, plays, news broadcasts. I'm sure there are many other ideas that will "grab" students and have them drooling for a specific book.
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