April at School Library Connection has been all about inquiry—but we’ve got inquiry on the brain all year long! In case you missed it, check out this great article from our November 2015 issue by Nicole Waskie-Laura and Susan LeBlanc on using images to scaffold learning as we move students toward the goal of reading complex texts.
Picture this: a class of students with a wide range of reading levels and abilities engaging deeply with the same introductory text. The topic and text are unfamiliar, yet the students that typically struggle to read are leading the text-based conversations. As the lesson progresses, the room buzzes with conversation as students grapple with the information in the text, ask inquisitive questions of their peers, and provide evidence-based answers.
How is it possible that all students across reading levels are independently accessing the same text? Because the introductory text is an image, allowing for the engagement of all learners. Visual texts sustain interest and help build understanding, scaffolding the reading of complex, printed text. Continue reading “Using Images as Scaffolds for Reading Complex Text”
April is National Poetry Month. Don Tate’s new book, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton, received a highly recommended rating in our April issue of School Library Connection/reVIEWS+.
Bill Traylor and George Moses Horton were two men born into slavery; one taught himself to draw, the other taught himself to read and soon after began to write poetry. In two beautifully illustrated books written by Don Tate, you can introduce these inspiring individuals to your elementary grade students.
If you’ve never heard of either Bill Traylor or George Moses Horton, you’re probably not alone. As Don Tate suggests, “So often with books about historical figures, the same stories get told time and again. I think publishers realize that a story about Abraham Lincoln or Dr. Martin Luther King or Harriett Tubman will sell well. But,” he reminds us, “there are a lot of equally inspiring stories out there that haven’t been told.” Continue reading “Author of the Month: Don Tate”
Need some great nonfiction titles for Earth Day? Check out these recommended Nature & Environment titles from the April issue of School Library Connection.
Polar Lands. 9781781212455
Rivers and Lakes. 9781781212448
Tropical Rain Forests. 9781781212462
2015. 32pp. ea. $31.95 ea. hc. Black Rabbit Books. Grades 3-5
Each title in this series contains a brief overview of its specified biome. All follow the same format including a world map, Climate and Zones, Animals, People, Future, a Quiz, and a Fact File. Attractive stock photos span most pages, and backgrounds complement each book’s theme. Text features include captions, headings, bold print, and books for further research. Some discrepancies regarding Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion were found in identical information across volumes. An enjoyable series for casual research or browsing despite a few flaws. Glossary. Table of Contents. Websites. Index.— Leticia Kalweit, School Library Media Specialist, Cobbles Elementary School, Penfield, New York
Continue reading “Great Reads for Earth Day”
This column by Mary Keeling from the latest issue of School Library Connection has been getting some buzz. Happy reading, and remember: “Everyone is a volunteer!”
At a recent meeting of new elementary librarians and their mentors, someone asked, “What is my assistant supposed to do? She doesn’t like to shelve books!”
A paradox of school library management is that the librarian is in charge of the library program, but a school administrator evaluates support staff performance. Without clear lines of authority, supervision experience, or detailed descriptions of successful task performance, the new librarian may feel it would be easier to have no help at all. Continue reading “Help! My Assistant Doesn’t Like to Shelve 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 up 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 shared 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!”
How are you observing National Autism Awareness Month?
While individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) might have difficulties with communication, library settings can play an important role in facilitating speech development and information exchanges with people beyond their family. By engaging in library activities, these students have the opportunity to interact and communicate with others, thus exposing them to typical communication styles.
In this free sneak peek of her six-part video workshop on School Library Connection, Dr. Nancy Everhart introduces us to her topic (above) and outlines some effective communication strategies for working with students with ASD in your school library (below). The full workshop—with coverage of technology, preparing students with ASD for a library visit, designing your library environment, and responding to challenging behaviors—will be available to School Library Connection subscribers on April 22nd.
Nancy Everhart, PhD, is Professor, School of Information, at Florida State University. She earned a master’s in educational media from the University of Central Florida and a doctorate in library science from Florida State University. Everhart is the primary investigator for the IMLS-funded Project PALS (Panhandle Autism Library Services), enabling librarians to better serve patrons on the autism spectrum. She is a past president of AASL, current co-chair of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards revision committee, and in 2012 received the School Librarianship Award from the International Association of School Librarianship. Everhart is also the author of over 100 publications.
With PLA meeting in Denver this week, it’s a perfect time to think about working with public libraries. Be sure to check out Dr. Daniella Smith’s recent SLC article about strategies for collaborating with public libraries.
Nurturing Youth Pathways through Learning
I attribute my experiences in public and school libraries with enabling me to understand the nuances that make both positions crucial to the development of young people. According to Barbara Immroth and Viki Ash-Geisler’s 1995 report, regardless of their location, libraries are institutions of education, whether it is formal or informal. Children are often introduced to their first organized educational experiences in public libraries. The library was my playground as a child, and this was by design. Continue reading “ICYMI: Daniella Smith on Working with Public Libraries”