Monday, October 31, 2011

Reaching Those Female Reluctant Readers

Much has been written and discussed regarding male reluctant readers. I do believe it is warranted and necessary, but I also have a group of female reluctant readers at school that I am trying to target this year. I found this short article that offers advice for any reluctant reader and another article with advice for parents. This SLJ Webinar, Reaching More Readers, is worth your time. I am still on the hunt for more information about reluctant female readers.

There are many strategies suggested in these articles and webinars, but the easiest strategy for librarians to employ is finding high interest reading material for our students. I often refer to ALA's Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list. Story Snoops also has reluctant readers as an option in their search feature.
When classes come in for check out I can usually spot the students wandering around aimlessly and I try to help them find something that they will enjoy. Sometimes the teacher will ask for my help if they know of a struggling student and occasionally the student will tell me they hate reading and ask for my help. I usually start by asking what type of book they have enjoyed in the past. If they say, "Nothing", I ask about movies or hobbies. Then I walk around with them and point out lots of books and give little summaries. I also give them permission to quit a book and come back if they do not get hooked right away. If they come back we try again with no guilt. There is nothing better than matching a challenging student with a book they love. Often they become my most vocal supporters.
One major area of success that I have discovered for girls is novels written in verse. A few of the favorites (not all in verse) at my school right now are: Lisa Schroeder's Far From You, The Day Before, Chasing Brooklyn and I Heart You, You Haunt Me, Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers, Keesha's House by Helen Frost, Sonya Sones's One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, Stop Pretending and What My Mother Doesn't Know, Cut by Patricia McCormick, Once Upon a Prom series by Jeanine Le Ny and The First Part Last by Angela Johnson. If you have read some of these you might recognize that they are packed with some major drama. I must also point out that most of these books are being read by my 8th graders and I wouldn't normally recommend these for my 6th graders, but they all have an recommended age range within the middle school years.
Some of my nonfiction titles popular with girls are the Would You Rather...BFF edition, Seventeen's 500 Beauty Tips, The Teen Vogue Handbook, Bobbi Brown's Beauty Rules, What's New Cupcake?, The Good, the Bad and the Barbie and Nestle TollHouse Best Loved Cookies.

I can't keep any of these books on the shelf. As soon as they finish one they come in with their friend that wants it next. I love when this happens. I recently tweeted how much my girls loved Lisa Schroeder and she replied to my tweet and even mailed lots of signed bookmarks and promotional postcards about her new release. The girls actually squealed when I brought them to the classroom.

Any advice for helping reluctant female readers? What are your go-to books for girls that say that they don't like to read?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Student Locker Tags

I found this cute locker tag for students on the Scholastic website. It is fun to walk down the hall and see what my students are reading.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This Way to Reading Bliss

After seeing this idea on one of my library bud's Pinterest page, I decided I had to create my own version. My super sweet maintenance man for our district actually brought wood scraps from his workshop at home to create this for me. I took the arrows and used Mod Podge to adhere pages from an old Harry Potter book as a background. Don't worry. The book was missing 80 pages for some weird reason so I really couldn't do anything else with it. Then I used alphabet stickers that I found in the scrapbook section of the craft store to spell out the locations. I spray painted the plain wood base with stone textured paint. The locations I chose were Hogwart's, Narnia, Forks, District 13, Camp Halfblood and Lorien. Can you name all the books for those locations?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Flashlight Friday

I first heard about the idea for Flashlight Friday on a Twitter chat. I think it was #titletalk, which is held the last Sunday of each month at 8 pm Eastern and hosted by Donalyn Miller and Paul Hankins. It is also mentioned on the Daily Cafe site. I emailed the idea to all of my ELA teachers and one of the teachers tried it. Mrs. Foster tried it with her Honors English class and it went so well that she plans to try it with her other classes soon. She told the students to bring flashlights and they brought flashlights of all shapes and sizes. After a short lesson they brought out their books and flashlights and cut the lights.
A fun idea for kids of all ages.