Officially, Read Across America Day is being celebrated nationwide on Monday, March 3. Since my middle school has a dedicated period of time for speakers and school-wide events on Friday afternoons, however, we are celebrating it today!
It's my 5th year as a middle school librarian and though I intended to do celebratory activities in the past, it just never happened. But this year, we're pulling it off. Here's what we're doing:
Registering on the NEA Website
Our first step in planning the event was to register on the NEA website. We were totally on top of this and did it last Friday. Ha.
Favorite Book Bulletin Board
During lunch periods this past week, students had the opportunity to decorate a Dr. Seuss hat and write the title their favorite book(s) on the hat.
To make the hats I found an image of a hat from the Dr. Seuss website and enlarged it. It was all pixelated, so I traced it onto another sheet of paper four times, made a bunch of copies and proceeded to spend literally hours cutting out 300 hats. I enlisted the hands of a few students to help. And we cut three sheets at a time. It still took a long time. At lunch I put out the hats along with crayons, pencils, markers and pens and let the students (and faculty) get to decorating!
As students and faculty finished decorating their hats, we posted them on the front windows of the library (the closest thing we have to a bulletin board). The above photo was taken on Tuesday when I wrote this post. Pretty good for two days, right? Hopefully now that it's Friday, there are tons more.
10 Worth Trying
To get students equipped for our school-wide reading time we created 10 lists of titles that we're calling "10 Worth Trying." Together with the assistant librarian, I created lists for:
- Historical Fiction
- Realistic Fiction
- Science Fiction
- Mystery & Suspense
- Graphic Novels
For those counting, that's 100 recommended titles! We made fun posters for each of the lists that hung in the library. You can see which titles we chose by clicking the link above. For the purposes of this event I limited the list to only those titles currently checked-in, so that students could actually get the books immediately. That explains why some of my personal favorites (like Scott Westerfeld's Uglies) are sadly not represented.
This afternoon for 45 minutes all students and faculty will stop what they are doing and sit silently and read! We promoted the SSR and reading lists all week long to ensure that students and faculty were aware it would be happening and would have a book ready to read. For stragglers there was a display, including of all the "10 Worth Trying" books, in the library so that students could grab and go!
Dr. Seuss Bookmarks
You just can't expect people to read without giving them bookmarks, right? That's why every student and faculty member received a Dr. Seuss bookmark. I purchased these (see below) from Upstart Promotions, but you can also get al sorts of chum from the "official" Dr. Seuss store.
And that's how we're celebrating! How about you?
ETA: Success! It was a crazy busy day of counting out and distributing bookmarks to advisors, pulling books and doing readers advisory for last-minute folks and all that jazz. But, it was great! Several teachers have even asked me if we could look into doing SSR more regularly, but without all the fuss on my end. Sounds good to me!
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