For a long time, I've believed that an active and vibrant library program must contain several key components ( I'll save the rest of my 'theory' for a different day). But one vital aspect involves having a community of readers or a culture of readers Webster's Dictionary defines culture as the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time.
Several weeks ago I had the opportunity hear Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) speak at the Plum Creek Literacy Festival in Seward, NE about this very topic. She explained what she does at her school to promote and engage all of her students in reading. She creates this very thing in her classroom.
I left inspired and motivated. Instead of just having my own ideas, philosophies and nuggets tucked away in my head, I needed to get the message to our students. We need to work together to create, support and encourage reading throughout the building! Sometimes we miss the obvious. Since then, I've had multiple conversations with 4-6th grade students. How do we create a culture of readers? What matters? What impacts them? What will stick? How can they help each other?
We've had an outpouring of ideas. One student suggested creating an APP that would track books and time spent reading, and another mentioned making a professional commercial. Several have isolated specific authors, genres and titles that need to be highlighted so others will read these particular books. Oh...and we have several book clubs going. One group of boys meet on Fridays at 3:15 to discuss Mac Barnett's books, as he is our visiting author for this year. Posters are up for a group that will meet to discuss "Lions at Little Rock" in November and another group begins meeting later in November to identify what the group wants to take on. Seriously, I could go on and on. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
My point...it's about the students. It's about helping them empower each other and make a difference. We say it...do we always follow through? I don't know. But at this moment in time, I'm extremely proud of our Hopewell students. They are definitely creating a Culture of Readers - one book at a time.
is the teacher librarian at Hopewell Elementary School. She received her Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa, and is also responsible for the Extended Learning Program.