Monday, April 27, 2015

2015-16 Sunshine State Young Readers Award Nominees

Congratulations to the 15 nominated titles for the SSYRA Grades 3-5 list:

and the 15 nominated titles for the SSYRA Grades 6-8 list:

Happy reading, everyone!

Sunshine State Young Readers Award Winners 2014-15!

The winner of the SSYRA Award for Grades 3-5 is...

The winner of the SSYRA Award for Grades 6-8 is...


Friday, April 17, 2015

SSYRA Fun! 2015 Edition

Voting booths ready to go!

This past year I've been honored to chair the Sunshine State Young Reader's Award Committee for the Florida Association for Media in Education and the Florida Department of Education. It has been a fun, rewarding experience that is also a lot of hard work. (What rewarding experience ISN'T hard work, though?!)

My mom volunteering!
Our school participates in the SSYRA program every year.  For the last several years, I've thrown a Pizza Voting Party for the students who read at least 3 of the SSYRA books. They come to the library during their lunchtime to vote for their favorite SSYRA book, have some pizza and cookies, and have fun with their friends.  (Did you know it is SO FUN to EAT in the library??) 
Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office ROCKS!

The Leon County Supervisor of Elections brings a voting machine and privacy booths so that the students can vote on official election equipment - just like their parents do!  They vote, they get an I Voted sticker, and then they party. 
Our voting machine
Custom ballots and I Voted stickers
Our voters doing their civic duty
Lined up and ready to vote!

Students who read all 15 SSYRA books are awarded with a special t-shirt at the party.  It's quite a remarkable accomplishment.  This year, we had over 200 voters and 10 students who read all 15 books.  I'm so proud of them, and so pleased they liked this year's books.

We love Dominos! They make 2 deliveries so the pizza is fresh and hot!

SSYRA books and Capri Suns - a great combination
I have the best colleagues!

Book Tastings with Sixth Grade

I had wanted to have a Book Tasting session with students for a long time, but just hadn't had the time or opportunity.  I finally had the opportunity to host a book tasting for the sixth grade reading classes at the end of January.

There are many different ways to host Book Tastings.  I think one of the best things about it is that you can really tailor your lesson to meet the needs of the age group, the project, or the purpose.  For this tasting, we just wanted the students to find books that they would want to read for pleasure.

We started by pulling hundreds of books from the Young Adult Fiction section, as well as from non-fiction, graphic novels, and biography.  We grabbed titles with high interest in a variety of reading levels and a variety of formats.  Books were set up on several book carts and placed around the library.

After explaining the process, students were allowed to browse any of the carts to select a book. We encouraged them to taste one book at a time for a few reasons: to avoid "hogging" of the "good" books; to ensure they browsed several different titles and carts; to be open to taking recommendations from classmates; and to encourage movement throughout the lesson so they weren't just stationary.

Students made notes on their Book Tasting Menus while they worked.  We used the menus as an assessment tool as well as so that they had a record of the books they tasted for future reference.

Students were allowed to check out books that day, and as books were chosen from the carts we replenished them with others.  Throughout the lesson I circulated and talked to the kids about their choices, made recommendations, and kept them on task.  It was as fun for me as it was for them.

The feedback I got from the students was about what I expected: many students said they loved the exercise and asked when we could do it again; some students said they didn't enjoy it and don't plan to check out any of the books they tasted; and many students said they don't normally read for pleasure, but had discovered at least one book that interested them.

Next Monday, one of the high school reading teachers will be hosting a Poetry Tasting in the library for the students to peruse poetry anthologies in preparation for a project they'll be doing over the next few weeks.  I adapted the Book Tasting Menu to suit her project.  I'm excited to see how it goes and how the students enjoy it!