Reading is seen by many as a private activity, it doesn’t get a lot of coverage. According to a blogger from the New Zealand National Library (Kiwis have great ideas) –  Rachel Van Riel, at Buffalo High School we can combat this by:

  • challenging and out-of-the-box displays, such as  ‘banned books’, ‘books we didn’t like’ (people should be allowed not to like a specific book).

  • involving readers in our marketing and promotions material and displays

  • involving current trends and interests outside the library into programs and displays.

  • creating spontaneous, memorable moments during the reading, which you can do by leaving slips inside books in particular areas where each reader can collectively jot down their thoughts.

  • always keeping our displays well-stocked — the worst thing is an empty display. There should be more book than blank shelf on show. ‘Don’t show your underwear’. In a bookstore, an empty display means ‘someone is going to be sacked’.

  • Less is more — do one good display over five mediocre ones.

  • Observe your community and use conversations with library users, everyday situations to create innovative displays, such as ‘books about people more miserable than me’.

As per last year, this year’s banned and challenged book display got a lot of students checking out and reading books.

Besides “out of the box” and interactive displays, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to get students and staff to consider reading across the curriculum. At this point, we’ve been building on ideas from last year  using essential questions to make connections and drive displays.

Additionally, we have incredible teaching staff who have incorporated reading choice books into their classes. Students in Jess Nickelsen’s Spanish class are reading nonfiction and fiction that connects with Spanish speaking cultures and authors. Students in Nick Lostetter’s freshman history class are reading narrative nonfiction and historical fiction. Students in Megan Usett’s Contemporary Literature are giving and hearing book talks (I gave one last week that I hope wasn’t too lengthy about the novel Tomorrow There will be Apricots ). And, this week I discovered that there is a Books to Movies Bison Time led by another member of our Social Studies Department – Ms. Tracy Hulley.

Meanwhile, I think there are still so many students and adults who think that reading can only happen in an English/Language Arts classroom.

I hope we can get this thinking to change.

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