My teaching time in the library is focused on research and incorporating technology. As I am half-time in the library, I look for different ways to share books and the love of books with my students. I regularly see the third and fourth grade classes in my K-4 building for instruction. I am sometimes fortunate to catch my K-2 and Montessori classes when they have check out, but this isn’t always possible with other classes, duties, etc.
How do I promote books with my students then? My office door is covered with covers of favorite books and a poster with my recent reads. During the summer, I created Book Hooks to put out in the fiction collection. These will expand to a second section of the library next semester. I’ve started using book trailers on occasion with my older students.
There’s another I communicate about books with my first – fourth grade classes. I write letters each full week of school for the thirteen classes. These letters touch on one or more books in our library. These can be picture books, chapter books, graphic novels or nonfiction books (I need to do more with the nonfiction books). These letters are being delivered in blank books from Bare Books. I use pen so it doesn’t smear, but then I do end up with cross-outs in the text. They could easily be done as real letters with envelopes. They could also be delivered electronically as a blog, wiki, or movie. I’ve enjoyed the paper route at this time because then I don’t have to set up or leave any equipment out with the books. I may experiment with electronic models later.
Sometimes my letter ideas come quickly. Other times, I have to wrestle with things a bit. A pitch may result in ten kids wanting to read the book, at which point I have them guess numbers to get the book. Other times, the book may not be checked out at all. For example, one third grade class was not interested in Bunnicula at all. The next third grade took out half the books in the series. It’s not a science. I am finding that it works better when I play with scenarios rather than try to summarize everything.
Right now the letters are being read by the teachers. In the future, I want to encourage students to revisit their class books to see some of our recommended titles. For that reason, I try to remember include call number information. Some classes also like reading the book in the library before anyone checks it out, which worked really well for a book called Press Here.
Here is an example of one of my letters:
Having a friend help you is a good thing, right? Who has had a friend help you feel better on a bad day? Maybe a friend will play with you, listen to you or fix something that broke. There are many times a friend can help.
Nathan Abercrombie is having a horrible day. He is full of bad feelings. Abigail thinks her scientist uncle has something that can help. Nathan tries Uncle Zardo’s formula, but he finds out that the formula that makes bad feelings go away actually made him a zombie!
What do you do when you are half dead at age ten? Read My Rotten Life by David Lubar to find out.
Here is another sample: