Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book of the Month (#nerdlution Day 3)

For 10 years, the All Iowa Reads program by the Iowa Center for the Book has encouraged Iowans statewide to come together to read and talk about a single book title each year.  After reading Igniting a Passion for Reading by Steven L. Layne as a staff, the leadership team at my previous building implemented All School Reads, similar to the All Iowa Reads program, featuring one book each month that every teacher shared with their students in a read aloud.  No work around standards or skills, simply reading and talking around a rich piece of literature.  After fantastic discussions, I would place the book in our classroom library and smile as students eagerly re-read (and re-read and re-read) the titles.

This book is filled with practical ideas for fostering a love of reading in students.

I currently work as an instructional coach at a high-poverty school.  Our teachers must work tirelessly to teach students the skills and strategies they need to be successful readers, but we also know that we must build a community of readers and spend as much time reading as possible.  We can't guarantee that students are having read aloud experiences at home.  When the opportunity presented itself to start (and fund) a school-wide Book of the Month program for 2013, I jumped at it!  Any excuse to go book shopping...

The teacher librarian and I collaborated to select the books.  We were eager to include fiction and nonfiction while trying not to overlap with any grade level's curriculum too much.  Of course, we also need to find high-quality literature that would spark conversation and appeal to students in Grades PreK-6.  Additionally, recent titles published in late 2011 or 2012 were our focus.  (Our thought process: Since books were going to be added to classroom libraries, this would be a way to update our libraries.)There are other practical considerations as well.  Books were ordered for classroom teachers, as well as art and music teachers to encourage connections to the arts.  At the beginning of the month, titles are distributed, along with a few suggestions for discussion questions or extension ideas. The feedback from teachers, students, and parents has been incredibly positive.  I noted the titles where I heard LOTS of positive chatter with a star below. Year 1 was a success!

2013 Book of the Month Titles
January: Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington*
February: Just a Second
March: I Want My Hat Back (plus giveaways of several copies of The One and Only Ivan and This Is Not My Hat to classroom libraries as part of Read Across America celebrations)
April: National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!*
May: Infinity and Me
August: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore* (book and app)
September: Each Kindness*
October: Chopsticks
November: Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade
December: Extra Yarn

The planning is underway for 2014.  We will again try to include books published in the past year.  The Best Books lists are proving helpful.  Any recommendations?


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