Spreading the (Reading) Love

The latest issue of Choice Literacy has a great article about schoolwide literacy activities that is a must-read.  My personal favorite is the story of the middle school where students broadcast their current reads on their lockers.  I’ve spent a lot of time today trying to figure a simple way to do something similar with my own students.  I love the idea, but I know it would be very difficult to keep up with the covers that would need to be printed for the idea described in the article.  I’ve come up with a few ideas and will be experimenting tomorrow.

The idea I think will work best is laminating a sign for each student that will read “I am reading _____________” and they will fill in the title of their current book.  Most of my students have whiteboard inside their lockers so we will try to use Expo markers.  Needless to say, I will be playing around with the idea a lot tomorrow.

In the event this doesn’t work, does anyone else have any suggestions?  We have tall lockers that line both sides of the hallway.  Due to privacy/theft concerns, I am hesitant to have students place their names on the signs.  Also, we have a serious lack of printers (especially color printers!) so printing the book covers probably isn’t an option.  Any ideas?

5 Responses

  1. We don’t have lockers in my middle school, but every teacher has a “Ms./Mr. _______ is reading ________” sign on their door. The only problem with this: I always want to walk around in January and beg people to update their signs, like, are you STILL reading Because of Winn-Dixie? Because you started it in September and it’s less than 200 pages long.

    We do a whole-school public library card drive every year, have reading passports for the 6th graders that cover all the Dewey categories, and our classroom libraries (and my school library) are very well cared-for. Kids are expected to have an independent reading book on them at all times, including assembly and the lunch room. We also have a teacher book club that keeps teachers talking about books, and sometimes they get the kids interested in what we’re reading. It takes a long time to change the culture of the school, but having current and exciting books available everywhere in the building makes a huge difference.

  2. Actually, I think the fill-in-the-blank idea you have is a good one. It avoids privacy concerns. And, I think there is something very personal about writing in the title of the book. There’s a certain ownership there that comes with manually writing it. And, perhaps, other kids will notice when one student changes the title, and if they’re into the whole thing, seeing changes might encourage discussion of the recently finished/recently begun books!

  3. I LOVE this idea! I teach 4th grade Reading/Language Arts only in a K-5 school, so we don’t have lockers in the hallways. I am thinking of posting student’s reading inside the classroom. If I laminate index cards (or book cut-outs or dialogue bubble cutouts) and use expo markers, they could be easily changed. Maybe I could even hang up a picture of the student reading next to the title. Thanks for the idea – I’m excited about this! Could you do it inside of your room or on a corkstrip in the hallway instead of on the lockers?

  4. I saw that article too, and thought it sounded so good! Unfortunately, we don’t have any lockers at our school (except in the gym). I sent an email to our librarian and suggested she make some big posters that say, “Mrs. Soandso’s Class is reading” or “The 8th Grade is Reading” then do a quick survey and write in the current titles. She often does posters with color copies of the covers when she gets in new books, so I thought this could go along with that idea.

  5. […] I hadn’t had a chance to read it, but Sarah Mulhern had a great post yesterday at the Reading Zone with a summary of an article about schoolwide literacy activities. She classifies it as a […]

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