Library Connections

Entries Tagged as reading

A Wrap Up to World Read Aloud Day 2013

March 08, 2013 · 3 Comments

March 6, 2013 the Internet brought business organizations, individuals, libraries, schools and institutions together to celebrate World Real Aloud Day.  Founded by Litworld, a  501C3 nonprofit organization to promote sustainable literacy practices worldwide, World Read Aloud Day, #WRAD, is about taking action to advocate Global Literacy.

We have captured some of the action shared online during World Read Aloud Day.  Check out the storify post below.

How did you celebrate World Read Aloud Day?  We'd love to know.  Please share with us in the comments below.

Rebecca Levinson is the Manager of Online and Social Media Marketing for Follett Software.  Social media is her passion and blogging is her first love. You can find Rebecca on Twitter @follettsoftware or @rebeccalev.

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3 CommentsTags: reading · World Read Aloud Day

Plugged in… Wait! Let’s stop and smell the roses.

March 07, 2011 · 3 Comments

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m very lucky to get to walk to work, and living in California allows me to do so just about every day. When I walk I’m usually ‘plugged in’ to my iPod listening to the news, the stories on This American Life or practicing my Spanish. It’s a walk through a series of neighborhoods that border farmland hills. It’s been a little wet lately and just about everyone has been keeping a low outdoor profile.

But today was a fantastic reminder that Spring is on its way. On my way home I discovered that my batteries were too low to listen to anything, so I pocketed the iPod and walked on home.

…and this is what I listened to instead: The barking of the big [really huge] black dog that lives in the red house, and the responses of the many other dogs on the route. Many different birds singing. Wild turkeys gobbling. The rushing water from the creek overflowing its banks after the rain. A little boy screaming in delight on the swing in the park. The cows on the hills and some chickens in someone’s back yard. And the call-out from a friend riding by on her bike.

It all felt pretty magical and it reminded me to stop and un-plug myself now and then so that I can take advantage of the other kinds of communication that goes on around us each day.

And then this reminded me of how plugged in we are every day at school – computers, phones, video cameras, LCD projectors… They all compete for our attention and all our senses.

It reminded me about when I worked in the junior high school and the many times things would get just a little bit overwhelming… so I’d call a ‘time out’ and announce that the next Friday would be a “Read & Eat Friday.” Students were invited to bring their lunch and grab some reading material, and find a comfy spot to sit and read. No talking, no computers, nothing but quiet, relaxing reading time. It was a very popular event and students asked for them regularly. Watching kids sprawl on beanbag chairs, huddle between the stacks, sit at tables or lie down next to the window while they ate lunch and read was a delight. It’s great to think of ways to use the library space not only as the creative, dynamic space it often is, but also as the place to retreat, relax and enjoy a good read.

All this looking forward to Spring, relishing the reminder that it’s good to take stock and appreciate all that we have, and taking those deep revitalizing breaths allows us to gear up for some very cool events.

Next week is the Follett conference – it’s going to be an exciting few days of conference sessions, but what I’m really looking forward to is meeting up with other Follett Software users to compare notes and talk about how different schools and different librarians manage all the ins and outs of not only handling library and textbook resources, but to chat about how we can better serve our students instructionally.

Back into the plugged-in mode, on March 24th at 11:30 am Central Time, Follett Software is sponsoring a School Library Journal webinar on ways to spread the word about the good things that happen in the library. I’m one of the speakers and I’m excited to share ideas - some I’ve tried, along with some that I’ve been working on, and ideas I’ve heard about from others in SLJ, workshops, conferences, listservs, blogs and just hanging out with librarian friends… I’ve seen some of the slides that Carl Harvey is sharing – and he’s got some very interesting insights to share about what he’s been doing too. Do drop in – it’ll be great to have the conversation! You can register here.

Connie Williams is a high school librarian and an advocate for school libraries. Connie loves to read and loves talking 'story' with others. You can contact her via email, or leave a comment below. She also wants to see YOU this week in Chicago!

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3 CommentsTags: Inquiring Minds in the Library · library · reading · school libraries

The Power of Story (part one): Reading

February 15, 2011 · 5 Comments

Librarian StudenI started out this blog with an introduction to a series of stories I had collected with my friend, storyteller Joe McHugh. It was while doing this project that I discovered that there is true power in “story” and that we encounter its power in a variety of venues. Today I’m investigating the power of reading.

It is the power of story that motivates us to read. That story may be fiction or it may be non-fiction – but it is the written collection of events that propel us towards a deeper understanding of who we are, why we’re ‘here’ and where we might want to go. Once a story is started, we just have to find out how it ends. How often have we, as teachers and librarians, read to students and then stopped right at the crest of the conflict, that last little bit of resolution hanging out there like a chocolate drop on a string… and then slowly closed the book and put it away? Cries of “Don’t stop now!” or “Whaaatt???? Keep reading!” set the stage for future reading, often by kids who don’t even like to read. Those books get grabbed up quickly and devoured to the very end.

Dr. Stephen Krashen wrote a compelling book, entitled The Power of Reading, that guided my teaching in the classroom and still guides my work in the library today. His thesis is simple: we read better if we read more. Seems pretty simple. And it is. But for some reason, it seems that the “reading wars” will continue on around us for many years to come. Is it just a question of money or is it that educators think that they have to be doing something that makes us feel as though we are actively creating learning for our students as they practice reading? Worksheets, phonics, whole language and leveled reading all have their place, but the research is truly clear: we get better at reading… by reading.

So what does that have to do with us in the library? Plenty, since we are often the recipients of the logistics of dealing with the outcome of those ‘wars’. We purchase books, we ‘level’ them, we arrange them and we apply those ‘levels’ to our MARC records so that teachers, parents and kids can find specific books assigned to them.

But through the years, in emails to listservs and at conferences, I see a larger back-story to what goes on in the school library: kids get the books they want from their librarian. Sure, it’s extra reading, but it’s that “story” thing again… the need to find their own voice reflected back to them from the larger world. Librarians know, from experience, what Dr. Krashen found out through research: “A number of studies show that contrary to popular opinion, when interesting and comprehensible reading material is available, most children read them.” [From an e-mail to CALIB listserv 2010.]

Which brings me to the next idea in this stream of story consciousness and politics and school libraries: being fierce. Joyce Valenza’s charge to us for this year is to ‘be fierce’. What an excellent arena to do that: reading…books… sharing stories! We can easily be there as a strong presence in even the most strident AR/Language!/Read 180/Open Court /etc. schools handing out books; leading book clubs - both physical and virtual, creating book trailers, helping students create their own, sitting in with them in class and helping them to read, and instructing them in how to find books on their own in the library.

Be bold. Be fierce. Tell stories. Give books and encourage that love of story… it will, on it’s own, encourage reading. Be there for that.

Postscript: Petaluma Speech by Stephen Krashen:
Dr. Stephen Krashen spoke to a room of teachers and community members on January 28th in Petaluma, CA. Listening to him speak always awakens the optimism about reading that we all know to be true: reading more makes better readers. Click here to read one child's story.

Connie WilliamsConnie Williams is a high school librarian and an advocate for school libraries. Connie loves to read and loves talking 'story' with others. You can contact her via email, or leave a comment below.

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5 CommentsTags: library-classroom connection · Inquiring Minds in the Library · library advocacy · reading · stories