From the Archives: Speed Dating with Books!

Here’s a fun idea from Tish Carpinelli for getting high school students to try reading something new.

“Oooh, book speed dating, I remember that. It was fun!” It made me smile to hear a senior boy pass by and say those words as I was setting nullup the decorations for a group of freshmen. It’s always great to have students think a program is fun, but it’s an added bonus when that program gets books into their hands that they really enjoy and actually finish. For our high school, speed dating with books is an effective approach to pairing up students with “the perfect match” of a book!

WHEN BOOKTALKS AREN’T THE ANSWER

When students used to come to the media center with their English classes to select a book for an outside reading, I would usually give booktalks. If I nullshared a dozen books and half of them were actually checked out, I was happy. For the rest of the period, students would browse the stacks in search of a book, find one quickly, and then sit down and chat with their friends until the bell rang. They often didn’t read a word of the book they checked out before they left! As the deadline for their projects approached, some of them returned their original choices to exchange for another book because the one they had was “boring.” Sadly, some students never even completed the assignment because they did not have a book that appealed to them.

GETTING “COMMITTED” TO A BOOK!

I first heard about book speed dating on the LM_Net listserv and decided to give it a try. After reading how other media specialists set up their programs, I came up with a plan that works well in my library. With some modifications, I have used this basic procedure with all grade levels, from freshmen to seniors, from resource classes to advanced placement students. In addition to being fun, book speed dating gives the students a chance to get to know a book before forming a “committed relationship” with it. They must read the cover, front and back flaps, and begin reading the book during the dating period. This results in their making an informed choice before they check out the book, and the book they choose will be one they enjoy reading. Continue reading “From the Archives: Speed Dating with Books!”

From the Archives: Celebrating the Ladies

By Kay Weisman

In North America, females outnumber males by about three percent, but books highlighting women’s contributions are not always so numerous. Share the following clustered titles with students to help them appreciate the accomplishments of women.

SCIENTISTS
Butzer, Anna. Maria Mitchell. Great Women in History series. Capstone, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-4914-0539-0; 24p., Gr. K-2.
This brief introduction to America’s first female astronomer explains how her interest in the stars developed and cites her professional accomplishments. Included are period photos, a timeline, and appended back matter.

Fertig, Dennis. Sylvia Earle: Ocean Explorer. Women in Conservation series. Heinemann, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-4846-0470-0; 48p., Gr. 3-6.
Fertig discusses Earle’s early inspirations and details her many undersea achievements. Full-color photos, diagrams, and generous back matter supplement this very readable text. Other series titles include Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall, and Rachel Carson.

Polacco, Patricia. Clara and Davie: The True Story of Young Clara Barton. Scholastic, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-545-35477-6; 40p., Gr. 2-4.
Polacco recounts an episode from American Red Cross founder Barton’s childhood detailing how older brother Davie protected, encouraged, and mentored her. Later, when Davie is hurt in a fall, Clara becomes his nurse, putting her healing powers to work.

Stone, Tanya Lee. Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell. Illus. by Marjorie Priceman. Holt, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-8050-9048-2; 40p., Gr. K-2.
In the 1830s girls were encouraged to become wives and mothers. Adventurous Elizabeth Blackwell defied that expectation, becoming America’s first female doctor despite first being turned down by twenty-eight medical schools. An author’s note and source list append this inspiring biography.

CONNECT & INVESTIGATE:
Both Polacco and Stone employ narrative frameworks. Discuss the portions of Barton and Blackwell’s lives covered by these texts. Where is other information placed? How do the illustrations contribute to these biographies? Butzer and Fertig apply a more traditional chronological approach to their works on Mitchell and Earle. Where is additional information placed in these texts? What information is conveyed in illustrations and graphics? (RI: K-6.1; RI: 1-6.5; RI: K-6.7)

Continue reading “From the Archives: Celebrating the Ladies”