Publishing houses and movie production companies spend plenty of money promoting new books and movies. Educators on the other hand, have that shoestring budget that we would rather spend on books. When it comes to promoting books and reading, it is always nice to take a ride on the coat-tails of the big guys.
When a new book in a popular series is being released, make sure to capitalize on the excitement and anticipation expertly created by the publishers. Show the book trailer and post a countdown to the release date in your library or classroom. Authors and publishers are usually buzzing about new releases online. Post information from their sites on your blog or bulletin board. Speak in hushed tones and pretend to have top secret insider knowledge of the upcoming book. Check to see that nobody is listening and say something like, “Rumor has it there is a surprise ending in this book.” Make a big deal out of revealing the new cover when it is released. Select a student who is particularly enthralled with a series to be your Chief Information Officer and charge her with keeping you up-to-date with all the latest information about the upcoming book. Book release parties are also a fun way to promote books and reading. Jump at the chance to party about books!
Since students are already clamoring to put books like this on hold before they come in why not have some fun with it? Pre-order multiple copies of popular series books such as the Diary of A Wimpy Kid’s series Cabin Fever; or the next installment of the Origami Yoda series, and make a special trip to the book store to make sure students have the new book at least the day after it is released. Hold drawings on the school news program to determine which students will be the first to check out the new release. Drawings can be open or based on trivia questions from earlier books in the series. Keep drawing to see who will get the book next. Someone has even come up with the idea to put a “first read by” plaque in books with the name of the student who read the book first. Genius! Now that the book is out the reviews will start coming in. Create a “Thumbs-up or Thumbs-down?” book review display. Allow each student who reads the book to post their vote on the display. Add sticky notes for short reviews.
If your library or classroom has a blog, Facebook page or Twitter feed, make a post when you are on the way to the book store to pick up copies of a hotly anticipated new release. The first person to like or respond to your post will win the chance to be the first to check out one of the copies.
Keep track of the book to movie action. As soon as you find out that a book is being made into a movie, book-talk that book. At the end of the book talk, be sure to say something like, “This book is so good, they are actually going to make it into a movie.” This is the perfect time to start a book club and feed on the frenzy of excitement and publicity generated by the motion picture industry. Pour over the movie still releases, predict scenes that will be cut, create your own soundtrack, watch the movie trailers, listen to the official sound track which is usually released just before the movie, and predict where the songs will be used in the movie. Of course, have a movie premiere party with your book club members. Check out this great example of a book-to-movie party.
There are so many ways to put a fresh spin on these ideas and make them perfect for your students, but the most important part of it all is YOU and your excitement about books and reading.
Middle School Teacher-Librarian Jennifer Tazerouti is ready to assist students and teachers with their information and technology needs in Union, South Carolina. The librarian keeps a professional blog at: www.auntielibrarian.com