THE MAKE THEM OR BREAK THEM YEARS
ENGAGING READERS THROUGH THEIR TWEEN
AND TEEN YEARS
C AT H Y F I S C H B U C H
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
I took a long hiatus from reading through my teen
years, but still had time to read Asterix & Obelix
and Tin Tin. Our school library was very dated, had
a librarian who had very little interest, and we did
not have a scheduled weekly visit after Grade 6. So
my link with reading pretty much disappeared (I
was the student you have trouble with!)
G.S. LAKIE MIDDLE SCHOOL
Our school population is roughly 760 students in grades 6,7, 8.
60+ staff. The school is 10 years old and was built for 600 students.
I host 27 L.A. classes in the library each week.
WHY THE MIDDLE YEARS ARE IMPORTANT?
We skyped with various authors last year (no cost for any of them.) We also have presented
live webcasts through Scholastic - http://www.scholastic.com/livewebcasts/webcast_tips.htm
Taylor Swift wowed them, Rick Riordan had them in the palm of his hand. Occasionally we showcase
an author or illustrator during scheduled library time –
You never know, this might be the spark for one of them to become a great artist or writer.
DISPLAY + PEER DIRECTED BOOKTALKS
Adding value to the students library visit, trying to move students
booktalks beyond “it was good”. It has improved their presentation
skills, they have a better understanding of character
development, and an overall shift in understanding choices an
author makes in stylistic elements.
TEACHER OR LIBRARIAN DIRECTED
I use this method of table talks quite often. I give a real quick 30 second review and
Sometimes the books are theme related (above are survival books), sometimes
non-fiction, skinny books.
READER’S ADVISORY / BOOKTALKING
Costumes, props, and acting out sections of a book are always memorable.
READER’S ADVISORY / BOOKTRAILERS
Publisher supply great booktrailers , and most have their own youtube
channels. Check out these sites.
Keep a story file (mine contains read aloud pages) and be ready to share
Write a column in your school newsletter or PTA news
Feed your teachers exciting things you find on the web that will enhance the curriculum
Start a Language Arts team, share successes and failures
Start a blog
Hold an open house night or morning
Use your space as a showcase – not only for library or LA related subjects – science
fair projects, history fair projects, art
Don’t be afraid to ask, what’s worst they can say?
Prove you know more than just books, become the go-to person
Work with a team – LA teachers, librarians, your great readers
Ask teachers / staff to do some of the reading for you
Kids first, everything else second
Share, collaborate, relax the library paradigm, think outside the box
Don’t advocate for libraries or librarians. Advocate for kids! Advocate for learning!
JUSTIFY YOUR VALUE
IT’S NOT BRAGGING IF IT’S TRUE
Show them with stats.
Show them with pictures.
Invite them into your world
Start with one thing. Make sure it’s something you want to do – not a chore.
WHERE I WANT TO GO NEXT
The library as a Maker-Space
The library as the directors studio
The library as the venue for the next poetry slam
The library as the world headquarters for the next Amazing Rac
I wish you a day of ordinary (library) miracles and little things to rejoice in…
Eight hands that go up to request the title you’ve just book talked.
A computer that goes for an entire day without crashing.
A less-than-successful baking experiment taken to the teachers lounge, eaten
before 10 am.
A child asking for another book “just like this one.”
Finding a "app" that saves you time.
Watching a student successfully use the newest database to find needed
A parking spot close to the school door.
The principal saying a sincere thank-you.
An unexpected larger amount on your paycheck or a smaller amount on your
A new book just published by your favorite author.
A student who is actually concerned about the quality of his work.
A dozen doughnuts as “thanks” for service above and beyond the call.
A quick and pleasant response from a technician.
Kids who want to help you.
A teacher saying out loud in the lounge how much she uses the online tool you
A human voice on the phone when you expected a recording.
A student who wants to become a librarian when she grows up.
A chance to show a tech-tip to a teacher who thinks you are a “guru.”
A library with windows and sunbeams in the winter.
A request to use the library for a meeting because “it is the most pleasant room in
A smile of accomplishment from a student who shows you how to do something
on your smartphone.
A quickly-answered reference question asked by a teacher.
A library aid you like and who likes you.
A call from a parent thanking you for the information on your webpage.
A student so absorbed in a book, he doesn’t hear the bell ring.
A call from a parent about a lost book found while cleaning.
A student who wants to hold your hand.
Students who give genuine praise to each other.