cyber pdI’m really thankful that our hosts for cyberPD chose Reading in the Wild because a lot of my thinking this summer has been focused around integrating technology into my teaching in the media center.    The elementary media specialists in my district have been working together this summer to create a technology curriculum and teaching plan for next year centered around technology.  This curriculum will be in integrated with the state standards for libraries that we are also responsible for teaching.  We felt that we needed to reflect digital literacy more in our libraries, in addition to more traditional literacies.  It is also our hope that having a set curriculum will also allow students in each building to have the same experiences with technology in the media center, regardless of their varied experiences in their classrooms.  Reading in the Wild has allowed me to also focus on my students as readers and to think about how to help them develop their lifelong wild reading habits (and to also think about where technology may fit into these habits).

reading in the wildFirst, some shameless self-advocacy.  I have heard Donalyn speak two times now and she has always been a promoter of libraries.  As a school librarian I was so glad that she included the quote “Although school libraries and degreed librarians have a positive effect on students’ achievement and engagement at school (Francis, Lance, & Lietzau, 2010; New York Comprehensive Center, 2011), too many schools have eliminated professional librarians and slashed library budgets,” (p. 95).  On the same page she also writes, “Hire a degreed librarian.”  Of course I was glad to see these words in a book that I know so many engaged educators will be reading.  However, just having a certified librarian in a school is not enough.  As school librarians/ media specialists we must make sure that we are supporting the goals of our students, teachers, our school, and our district.  The time for collaboration is here and we must make sure that we are not a separate entity in our school, but a crucial part of the learning.

Okay, I’m off my soap box!  Donalyn writes about inviting readers “into a society that reveres readers and writers,” (p. 91).  I think many students come to the library thinking it is such a society, so we must figure out ways to capitalize on this thinking.  Or if students do not see the library as such a place, we have to figure out how to get them there.  Here are the take away ides for I have for our library from Chapter 3:

  • To foster the sense of reading community in our library I like the ideas of both the reading door and the “I am currently reading…” sign (I also liked that students decorated their lockers showing what they were reading-I’m thinking about where my students could do this, since we have no lockers…).   Turning the reading door over to students after the first few weeks of school is also something I hope to do.  I can think of several students who would love to be responsible for our library door reading display.
  • Book recommendations on morning announcements are a great idea and I just happen to coordinate the students who present our school announcements.  I see a new weekly book recommendation feature happening this year!
  • I communicate with parents in our monthly school newsletter.  Adding book lists to this communication would be easy to do.
  • A big goal I have is to get students to share their book recommendations with each other.  A recommendation from a friend or another student in the school goes father than one from me.  One thing that I implemented last year was based off of the meme “It’s Monday!  What are You Reading” hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers.  My friend and blog co-writer Cheryl Angel was the inspiration for this idea.  We decided to incorporate this idea in the library by month.  We used our library wiki and taught students to post what they were reading and gave opportunity for others to read and respond in the comments section.  A screen shot of the wiki page is below (it’s password protected and includes students names, so I can’t include a link to it).  It’s kind of like our own little online reading community.  I think it was successful because it allowed students to see what others (in and out of their class) were reading, it also allowed for students who aren’t as vocal to have a way to share, and it was accessible from home, so students could share and find recommendations outside of the library, as well.  I included the October version because you can see even months later students were still commenting.  We created a new page for each month of the school year.

wiki screen shot

  • Students have also used the Quicktime software already built into our library computers to record book commercials.  Quicktime provides a quick and easy way for students to record video or audio.  Using an iPad is another easy option for recording quick book commercials.  We can then play these recordings during transition times in the library, or out of the library, during times like lunch or morning announcements.
  • Another idea I will definitely use is to display pictures of students with favorite and/or just read books, or even just the covers of new books in the library, on digital picture frames, the look-up station computer (as a screensaver) or even on the TV that we have in the library.  I could also have such a stream of photos running on the Smartboard as students enter the library.

Chapter 4 was all about having a plan.  Being a big planner myself I really identified with this chapter.  Donalyn writes, “Students must learn how to make their own reading plans, reflect on their individual accomplishments, and find personal reasons for reading or they will never become wild readers,” (p.139).  It is often hard to have the continuity in the library for the planning and reflection that Donalyn describes in the chapter, but I did identify several ways that they could be implemented.  First, before breaks and certainly before summer vacation we can make plans for reading (I have made summer reading plans with my students the past two years and include a link to a resource wiki for both students and their parents to expand upon the plan during the summer).  The types of reading plans that Donalyn described in this chapter (commitment plans and challenge plans) were also interesting to me and I think that talking specifically about such plans would help students with the process of goal setting, which can be difficult for some.  I know I will incorporate these into my discussion next year.   I think I could also have students make reading resolutions at the start of the new year.  Developing a personal must read list would also be something students can do in the library.  It may even be a good way to start the year, helping me to get to know my students better as readers.  One final thing that stuck out to me in chapter 4 was the list of questions Donalyn included on page 144 for helping students pick what book to read next.   Like the questions she included for building preview stacks in chapter 2, I will add these questions to my teaching toolbox.

Thanks for reading and for a great online discussion.  I’ve enjoyed reading so many of your posts and look forward to participating again next week!