Now That’s What I… by Jen Chesney, Tamara Cox, Monique German, & Kristen Hearne
Music fans who want to listen to the latest, greatest hits can pick up the music compilation series, “NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. Whatevs.” Pop, hip-hop, rock, dance – it’s all there. So what are some ways we, as school librarians, can craftily put together a similar package for teachers featuring the latest, greatest books from various genres? This was the inspiration for one of our recent book promotion ideas.
“You’ve got to read this book!” Isn’t that how many of us start conversations with our teachers about the latest mind-bending or soul-altering book we have read? Some respond with an enthusiastic, “Great! Hand it over.” Others tell us they just “don’t have time to read.” It is sad to say, but we all know that there are teachers that don’t read. This is a problem. “Teachers who do not read are choosing to be less effective with their students than teachers who do.” Donalyn Miller, SC Assoc. of School Librarians presentation, March 2012 (emphasis added).
As librarians we have made it our mission to promote reading and that includes promotion to our teachers. A teacher that reads and keeps up with trends in books will be able to pass that enthusiasm on to her students. There are several ways we have tried to address this need in our district.
One way we’re reaching out to teachers is to offer district wide professional development sessions devoted to book talks and discussing need-to-know titles and trends. We see our role in the book sessions as a way to “bless” books. Teachers’ days are full, their classrooms are full, their duties are extensive, and if they only have a few minutes a day to read, they need someone to direct them to the good stuff. School librarians cut through a mountain of new titles using reviews, blog posts, and our own professional learning network to find the titles that will grab their students regardless of diverse reading levels or genre preferences. If through our book talks, reviews, colorful posters, jokes, and book lists we can also light a teacher’s reading fire, that’s even better!
Something else we’re doing that you might consider is sponsoring a faculty or district-wide book club for your level (elementary, middle, high) to encourage teachers to read at least one current book a monthor nine weeks – whichever time frame is most realistic for your group. Hey, if we can get teachers to read as many as 4-9 new books a year, that’s better than zero! Books that we’ve used include Wonder by RJ Palacio, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, and A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. You can find books to correspond with service projects, professional development priorities, award winners or something just for fun.
Invite your faculty to take part in online reading communities like the Nerdy Book Club, #titletalk Twitter chats, #bookaday, or #summerthrowdown challenge. Create a group on Goodreads so you can share reviews and recommendations. Print signs so staff can post their current read on the classroom door.Techniques that create a classroom reading culture can also be applied to faculty and staff.
We created promotional materials to correspond with our back-to-school book sessions. Just as the “NOW” music series will occasionally break out and focus on a specific genre of music, such as “NOW That’s What I Call Country!” and “NOW That’s What I Call 80s Music!”, we did the same with book genres such as historical fiction, superheroes, and romance and created posters for fans of those themes. We’ve done the work for you this year and hope that you will take these materials to share books with your faculty!
Link for Middle School Book Posters
Link for High School Book Posters
Now, let’s hear from some of you…how do you promote reading to your faculty?
We are librarians in Anderson District One in South Carolina. Follow us online for more reading ideas.
Jen Chesney: @thejenchesney http://thejenchesney.blogspot.com/
Tamara Cox: @coxtl http://e-literatelibrarian.blogspot.com
Monique German: @bibliogerman http://thisshelfreserved.blogspot.com/
Kristen Hearne: @KHearne http://thelibrarianinthemiddle.blogspot.com/
Getting other teachers to buy in to reading more is challenging. We’re busy. We have plans to write. We have essays and response journals that need thoughtful replies…
But I learned last year that reading and knowing books gave me a certain level of credibility with my students. On Mondays, when we RING THE BELL to celebrate a finished book, it’s important for me to ring it along with my students and show them that I’m in it with them. And of course it’s essential that I know books–at least ABOUT lots of titles–so I can make recommendations.
My colleague and I have suggest titles to others and will continue to do so. How could we not? It’s who we are. It’s what we do. But this whole-faculty idea is a new one–one that is worth considering.
Thanks for sharing and lighting a fire. I’m diggin’ your book posters, too. I’ll surely be stealing that idea.
THAT. Exactly what you said in your second paragraph – what a wonderful way to share books by ‘celebrating’ your finished ones. I plan to pass that bell ringer activity idea along to my teachers.
I’m pleased to report I had what I consider a ‘success’ today by doing my latest and greatest reads with our district’s ELA teachers, and half of them agreed to take part in a Y.A. book club where we’ll read one book a nine weeks starting with The Fault in Our Stars. Hey, that’s progress!
See below for information about the posters. 🙂
The posters are a wonderful idea! Is there any way we can purchase copies for our library? I’m thinking about starting up a YA reading group for teachers in our middle school – I’ll let you know how well it is received.
Speaking for myself, I nicked the poster idea from the wonderful website, TLT: Teen Librarian’s Toolbox http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/ . They encourage you to use theirs, and we feel the same way – you’ll note we made our posters learning commons share in Flickr. Take ’em! Also, you can make your own using either Publisher/Powerpoint/Comic Life. I create my high school ones using PPT, then save as a PDF, and print using Postermaker.
I love the posters! What a great idea (and I’m honored to see my own book on one – what a lovely surprise – thank you!) to help kids see books in categories they may find interesting. Sometimes having so many choices can be overwhelming, so this is a great way to get them started.
I have cooked a soup and salad luncheon for my teachers during PD days and booktalked as they eat providing an annotated bibliography so they can jot down notes as I speak. It’s been lots of fun. I’ve done after school specials where I booktalk titles that address 6+1 providing an annotated bibliography. This post is wonderful.
Food is ALWAYS good – feed them and they will come. 😉 Thanks for sharing what’s worked for you!
I love the idea of a special meal provided by the librarian to encourage teachers to listen to a book presentation! Thank you for sharing!
I agree with Joanne and Lisa. The posters are an awesome idea. I can see how this visual effect might inspire someone to read an unfamiliar book. What are the dimensions?
Students really do like the genre posters! We created them in Powerpoint/Publisher/Comic Life. The ones I did for high school were created in PowerPoint and then saved as PDFs. Our PosterMaker allows you to print them as 18×24 or 24×36.
We printed them in two sizes, 18×24 or 24×36. We kept the aspect ratio of an 8 1/2 by 11 page.
I am passing the link for this post on to the person who works with secondary librarians in my District. And I love, love, love the posters. Brilliant!
Thank you. We appreciate you sharing the post. We had fun putting them together and hope they can help others.