I think the most valuable back-to-school essential is a warm
smile. After teaching for several decades, sometimes I forget
that some of these kids are nervous, scared, and even hungry. A
reassuring handshake and smile could be the most important
lesson I share that day: acceptance.
Prairie Creek Intermediate School
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
We are preparing to greet 825-plus fifth and sixth graders in a
few days. I’m looking forward to meeting the wide variety of
kids with their unique interests, abilities, and experiences. Our
library is gearing up to welcome all readers, from the avid to
the reluctant. My goal this year is to promote books in as many
ways as possible. From displays to the author readings on teach-
ingbooks.net, we will work to show every kid there is a book
for them. Honoring all reading is central to our library service.
Our back-to-school display welcomes kids with books they can
tackle. We have magazines and comics.
We are also gearing up library manufacturing with our 3-D
printer. One of our first projects will be to create action figures.
Students will design their own action figures using Google
Sketchup and then print them out.
Middle School Librarian
Harbor Lights and Macatawa Bay Middle Schools
Every year at my sixth-grade library orientation I challenge the
students to play “Stump the Librarian.” Don’t like to read?
Fine. Challenge me. Tell me that you dare me to find you a book
you will like. The only caveat is that they have to give me more
than one chance if I don’t find a good fit with the first suggestion. Announcing right away that I understand that some of
them don’t like to read removes a barrier and makes me more
approachable for suggestions.
I’m busy brainstorming fun activities to appeal to the reluctant reader. This year I’ve decided to try a lunchtime ‘”I Hate to
Read Book Club.” I already run an after-school book club for
avid readers, but I want to target this other population with
short, fun activities during the school day. Book-related movie
clips, snacks thematically tied to short readalouds, makerspace
activities related to books in our collection, computer coding,
and perhaps a Skype author visit or local speakers with interesting talents/hobbies are some of my thoughts. And while I’m
scheming about this new idea, I’m trolling Pinterest for ideas
for the multiple huge bulletin boards and glass display cases that
I have waiting for me at both of my middle schools. ■
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