Thursday, January 4, 2018

More Than 25 Ideas for a New Year of Readers' Advisory!

I love books. 

I love spending time with books.  

I love talking about books, sharing them and of course reading myself and to anyone who will listen, especially my own kids, husband and family. 

With all this love for books, one of my favorite things about being a teacher librarian is matching students, teachers and parents with books they hopefully love.  

This is referred to as Readers' Advisory

In the article Readers' Advisory: The Most Important Class for New Librarians on the ALA site, Jessica Moyer shared, 

According to Diana Tixier Herald, author of Genreflecting, readers' advisory is: "the act of putting people together with the books they love." (Herald) Joyce Saricks, author of Readers Advisory Service in the Public Library, defines readers' advisory as: "[a] patron-oriented library service for readers. A successful readers' advisory service is one in which knowledgeable, nonjudgmental staff help fiction readers with their reading needs." (Saricks and Brown 1997).

Readers' advisory is definitely one of the best parts about being the librarian....and a reader and lover of books.  I played matchmaker with books and what could be better than that.  

In fact, over the holiday I loved the time I spent matching up books in my very own readers' advisory time with family and friends.  
We went to Belgium to see our daughter Brianna and her husband Jaden (who, by the way, are two of my favorites to read to) and brought the Cantata Learning Library Skills series that I wrote.  
Brianna not only added them to her home library, we played the songs and sang about finding books and staying safe online. 

She loved them. I knew it would be the perfect match!  This was very special.

I helped my mom pick out books for the grandkids.  She wanted to make sure to pick something they would enjoy reading.  
We visited our favorite local independent book store in our Denver neighborhood, BookBar, where they encourage everyone to raise and be passionate readers.
The way they connect people to books, authors and to each other as readers at the BookBar is the best.
Every time I visit, I find new readers' advisory ideas around the store.  I take lots of pictures and always comment on how great these ideas would work in our school libraries too.  
Make sure you sign up for the BookBar Newsletter....It is filled with readers' advisory ideas and fun.  

Oh and notice the Little Free Library right outside of the door.  This is a great way to continue their readers' advisory even when they are closed.  
As we showed out friends J'aime and Matt Garcia and..
Joellen Wesselmann the BookBar, I realized we were having our very own readers' advisory time. 
And what about last year when our niece Riley Fox came to visit us in Denver!  Riley and her mom (and my sister) Heather couldn't wait to visit the children and teen section in our favorite downtown book store.  

I know that she was hooked by the displays, programming and interesting shelves of books at the Tattered Cover.  Who wouldn't be?  It is fantastic!  
This is another newsletter you will want to sign up for as they share lots of readers' advisory too.  
Also, make sure you follow these two book stores and others on Instagram. This is where I get lots of my ideas for what to read next and I love seeing what they post about all things books.
Even at home as the new Cantata Learning 2018 spring series appeared at our house, I was implementing readers' advisory as I had Eric and Hagan sing and read the wonderful new titles.  

As I read Facebook and other social media networks, it became obvious to me the holiday would be filled with readers' advisory here as well.   
I loved the lists shared by my librarian and teacher friends Sherry GickThe Goodwill Librarian,
 Donalyn Miller and....
There was Capstone Publishing, who shared lists that their books were included in; 
bloggers and librarians that I follow such as A Year In Reading with their 2018 Recommendations from Some Amazing People and...
popular media outlets like The New York Times, who shared Notable Children's Books of 2017and....
School Library Journal who shared their Best Books 2017 lists.

As these friends, colleagues, publishers and others shared the most notable books of 2017, I gathered them together in a Collection by Destiny so I could go back to them and share them with others too. 
You will find the Notable Books of 2017 Collection something you will want to follow, read and share too.  This will be perfect for readers' advisory as you kick off the new year.
As I thought about readers' advisory in my life over the holiday and throughout the year, I went back to the days as the K-12 teacher librarian at Van Meter Community School.  

Everyday I celebrated and promoted books and reading with our students. As I said earlier, this was one of the BEST parts of being a teacher librarian.  I loved every minute of readers' advisory with my community. 

Today, I would love to share a few ideas as you kick off a new year for readers' advisory too.  
Share, share, share!  

You can't share the books that you are reading and the ones that you love enough.  I read to my students and talked about books every time they came to the library or that I visited their classroom.  

I even talked about books when I walked through the lunch room, road the bus for a field trip, co-taught in a classroom, went to a game or concert and so many more places.  It was what I did.  

After all, I was the book matchmaker and I was creating the best readers' advisory I could.  
Others got involved too.  My library associate Diana was one of the best book matchmakers there were!  

As the person who processed the books, she was very familiar with our collection so it was a natural fit for her to recommend and champion books with our community of readers. 
Looking back at our collection and library, there were a lot of things we did.  

My mom made quilts that we would hang to encourage Reading, Thinking and Learning.  

As we rearranged our collection into genre based fiction, I made sure to match up the books I displayed with the signage and books on the shelves.  
These front facing books on top of the shelves drew a lot of attention and brought our students to them in a very simple way. 
We also hung up the posters from our Iowa Book Awards each year.  We would display the books close to the posters.  This made it easy for our students to choose these and for us to book talk them throughout the day.  At the end of the year, our students voted with others across Iowa for their favorites.  
I purchased several big bulletin boards to put up in the library.  By putting them high above the book shelves, I was able to create a neat display with the the board and books.
I covered these with cute fabric and materials to go with the different themes, events, authors, illustrators and more throughout the year.  
Our students were amazing at readers' advisory and loved creating and helping with displays to celebrate books and literacy.  These were definitely my favorites!  
One of the projects they loved were creating Book Talk Bubbles with talking book talks in our library and the hallways.
Each 5th grader created a Book Talk Bubble for one of their favorite books that we can find within our library collection.  We posted these around the library first and took them down as we needed them this week to post with their pictures. 

We talked about how fun it is to share these with our friends and teachers...and what fun it is to decorate the library with awesome recommendations from our very own young people.  
 You can read about their Book Talk Bubbles here.
I then took pictures of the 5th graders holding their book, printed them on cardstock, and cut around each one.
At the bottom of their picture and Book Talk Bubble, I placed a QR code that took them to a recording they made of their book talk.  
These will be easy for students, teachers, and others to scan... 
as they visit the displays within the library and hallway. 
You can read all about the Book Talk Bubble project here
We used Biblionasium, an online social reading community, for the students to keep track of of their reading and... 
share book recommendations with others in their class and school.  They loved being able to share the books they found, read and loved with their friends.
We used Flipgrid as a platform for students to recommend books to each other and others around the world through videos.  We even used Flipgrid as a way for them to recommend and share books with their families at home.
Book clubs were something that formally and informally popped up throughout the year.  

One of my favorite book club experiences was the Somewhat Virtual Book Club that we started with Joyce Valenza, Michelle Luhtala, Jane Lofton and a few others around the country.  
We would connect and a book each month often times connecting to the author of the book too.  I loved the diversity this brought to the readers' advisory in our library and school.   

You can read all about the Somewhat Virtual Book Club here.  In fact, they are still meeting.  
Let's talk about where digital resources fall into readers' advisory.

We had lots of creative and fun ways to share, display and promote our digital resources such as eBooks and databases like PebbleGo within our library, around the school building and online. 

One of my favorites was the Digital Read Box we created outside of our library.  I printed off pictures of the covers and with an augmented reality application I added book trailers and book talks that would pop up when they scanned them with their devices.   
I created lots of Symbaloo's to promote books, eBooks and other online literacy resources.

For example, this Symbaloo is filled with each season of the Cantata Learning songs that are available online and...
this one is full of reading sites, authors blogs, book trailers, new books and so much more.  You will find the Favorite Author and Books Symbaloo here.
I used Pinterest in the same way.  Here is one they loved featuring Robots and Coding in Picture Books
Padlet was perfect for bringing together book suggestions and recommendations because not only was I doing the readers' advisory of these resources, students were too.  

With Padlet, you can make it so there is no login making it extra easy to curate resources together.  This can be done within your school or even with other schools around the world.  

To see an example, here is a Padlet full of Books Filled With Peace I created for the Skype + Literacy Project for World Read Aloud Day this year.  
I also promoted the eBooks and databases by creating a campaign Put The Library In Your Pocket.  This came from a conversation I had with my dear friends Joyce and Michelle.  

By suggesting to our students apps and resources that they could add to their own personal devices, we gave them access to eBooks, databases and other tools that they may need to be productive and successful collaborators, creators and connectors....and of course readers too.  

It was a way for me to stay with them anywhere they went continuing to give suggestions along the way.  

In my monthly Van Meter Library Voice Newsletter that I created in Smore, I did a lot of promoting and sharing of these digital resources, Symbaloo's, Pinterest boards and more.  It was a great way to get this information into the hands of our families so they could share readers' advisory at home. 
Our families were passionate about being involved in readers' advisory at school too. 

In fact, we had a big glass case outside of the library and one when you first walked into the building that was used for readers' advisory.  Our families loved taking this front door one over.  

I love this display our parent volunteers put together to go along with iSpy books and a project we did with our fifth graders and author, Jean Marzollo. You can read about this project here.
We can't forget the influence authors, illustrators, publishers, experts and others had on our readers.  They contributed to readers' advisory in such a special way over Skype, Google Hangout and....  
in person by sharing their book, experiences and favorite books too.  
The relationships we had with our public librarian and library were important too, especially during our summer reading programs.  

One of our favorite programs was when we focused on the zoo all summer long.  We shared, read, recommended, donated and celebrated zoo and animal books.  At the end of the summer, we invited the Blank Park Zoo to join us for an exciting day in our town library.  

It was a huge success and such an exciting way to get our students reading all summer long.  You can read about it here.
As you can see, readers' advisory is one of the most important parts of our libraries and schools.  It shapes our readers, collections and programming that happens within our community. 

Readers' advisory brings such special and unique moments and experiences to each one of our students, leaving a lasting impression on them as readers.  

And I know that it leaves something very special in our hearts and profession.  I think it is one of the absolute best parts of being a librarian and teacher.  If I could, I would match readers to a book they loved all day long.  

I would love to hear what you do for readers' advisory and how it is important to you and your school too.  Please feel free to leave our comments here on this post.  

Have the best year, friends.  Happy reading to all!  

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