School Library Programs and Services

Back-to-School with Coteaching: Reading Comprehension Strategies and Instructional Partnerships

For this guest post we welcome Judi Moreillon, author of several books including the recent ALA Editions title Coteaching Reading Comprehension Strategies in Elementary School Libraries: Maximizing Your Impact.

 

All across the country the new school year is getting underway. As school librarians consider their unique contributions to learning and teaching in their schools this year, they can make time to review and recommit to their role in reading.

The American Association of School Librarian’s published a position statement on the School Librarian’s Role in Reading that notes: “Guiding learners to become engaged and effective users of ideas and information and to appreciate literature requires that they develop as strategic readers who can comprehend, analyze, and evaluate text in both print and digital formats” (AASL 2007) More recently, AASL published an infographic based on the findings of a National Center for Literacy Education research study that opens with the charge for school librarians to strengthen their commitment to building collaborative cultures in their school learning communities.

So how can school librarians maximize their impact on student learning outcomes this school year?

In school districts and states where the Common Core State Standards are being rolled out with a strong emphasis on English Language Arts (ELA) or where other literacy initiatives are being promoted (see TEKS ELA-Reading Figure #19), improving students’ reading comprehension proficiency is a top priority.

Research in the field of school librarianship has consistently shown that when school librarians collaborate with classroom teachers the results are evidenced in reading scores on standardized tests. Library Research Service has recently posted an infographic that illuminates the strong correlation between students’ reading scores and the work of school librarians.

In my professional books for school librarians and classroom teachers, I provide background information on seven reading comprehension strategies that can be applied across content areas, with multiple text formats, and with different genres. These strategies are aligned with the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner (see my alignment charts here and here). Each of my books, one written for educators serving at the elementary level and the other for those at the secondary level, provides twenty-one sample lesson plans that specify how educators can coteach in order to motivate, model, guide students’ practice, and coassess the students’ progress in applying these strategies. The ALA Editions Web Extras for these books include downloadable graphic organizers, sample student work, rubrics, and other assessment tools—in short, everything school librarians and classroom teachers need to implement these lessons on Monday morning (see below).

If you are a school librarian who is committed to helping students become effective users of ideas and information and producers of knowledge, then aligning reading comprehension strategies with information literacy is a win-win-win situation.

A win for students who can learn to independently analyze texts in all formats and content areas; a win for classroom teachers who have a partner with whom to teach these essential strategies; and a win for school librarians who can use their role in teaching reading comprehension to demonstrate their value as leaders on their school’s literacy teams…

Check out these essential resources:

Coteaching Reading Comprehension Strategies in Elementary School Libraries: Maximizing Your Impact (ALA Editions, 2013) and the Web Extras

Coteaching Reading Comprehension Strategies in Secondary School Libraries: Maximizing Your Impact (ALA Editions, 2012) and the Web Extras

Meet the Authors at ALA Annual

 

Attending the 2013 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition? Make sure to carve out some time in your schedule and stop by the ALA Store to meet our authors and get an autographed copy of their books!

All the events below will take place in the Exhibit Hall at the ALA Store, booth #1224, an ideal location for easy access and convenient browsing:

 

Friday, June 28             

  • Betsy Diamant-Cohen, Linda Ernst, Saroj Ghoting, and Dorothy Stoltz: 6:00-7:00 p.m.

early literacy experts and authors of such books as Mother Goose on the Loose, Baby Rhyming Time, Every Child Ready for School, and Storytimes For Everyone!

 

Saturday, June 29            

  • Catherine Hakala-Ausperk: 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

author of the new book Build a Great Team: One Year to Success and the bestseller Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success

  • Tina Coleman and Peggie Llanes: 3:00-4:00 p.m.

authors of the new book The Hipster Librarian's Guide to Teen Craft Projects 2

 

Sunday, June 30              

  • Julia Sweeney and Rob Christopher: 11:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

contributors to Queue Tips: Discovering Your Next Great Movie

  • Kenning Arlitsch: 3:00-4:00 p.m.

co-author of the new book Improving the Visibility and Use of Digital Repositories through SEO: A LITA Guide

  • Aaron D. Purcell: 4:00-5:00 p.m.

author of Academic Archives: Managing the Next Generation of College and University Archives, Records, and Special Collections
 

All books by these authors will be 20% off the list price (an additional 10% off the ALA Member price). Use the Conference Scheduler to plan your time!

ALSC Offers Five Spring Course Options

Whether you’re looking for lively discussion about children’s librarianship, new programming ideas, or just want to brush up before summer, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has something for everyone.

With five excellent choices for your professional development needs, our spring online courses are sure to please. In addition to ALSC’s short webinars, these five-to-six week long courses give students more opportunities to interact with their peers in a convenient online atmosphere. The five courses include:

The Caldecott Medal (May 2 – June 10)                                            Instructor: Kathleen T. Hornung

Children with Disabilities in the Library (May 2 – June 10) Instructor: Katharine (Kate) Todd

Introduction to Graphic Novels for Children (May 2 – June 10)
Instructor: Janet Weber

Out of This World Youth Programming (May 2 – June 10)
Instructor: Angela Young

Reading Instruction and Children’s Books (May 2 – June 3)
Instructor: Katharine (Kate) Todd

For more information on these courses and special rates for ALSC members, please visit the ALSC online education site. Questions? Please contact ALSC Program Officer, Jenny Najduch, jnajduch@ala.org, or 800-545-2433 ext. 4026.

Continuing the Conversation: Supporting Early Literacy Through Language-Rich Library Environments

Earlier today, we held the ALA Editions Workshop Supporting Early Literacy through Language Rich Library Environments with Saroj Ghoting. We’re following up with a few of the questions asked during the presentation that we felt merited further discussion: Saroj will be part of the discussion as well!

  • What do you think is the role of technology in promoting early literacy?
  • What is the ideal timeline for replacing displays and material in your space?
  • What’s the difference between open and closed-ended toys? Which type is better in promoting early literacy?

Links to Resources that Saroj Mentioned today:
 

The preliminary readings for this workshop were:

  • Welcoming Place,  Chapter 6 in Designing Space for Children and Teens in Libraries and Public Places by Sandra Feinberg and James Keller. Chicago: ALA, 2010 HUhttp://www.alaeditions.org/files/Feinberg_DesigningSpace_Ch6.pdfU
  • Parent Participation,  Chapter 4 in Learning Environments for Young Children: Rethinking Library Spaces and Services by Sandra Feinberg et al. Chicago: ALA, 1998. HUhttp://www.alaeditions.org/files/Feinberg_LearningEnvironments_Ch4.pdfU
  • Meece, Darrell and Anne Soderman. Setting the Stage for Young Children’s Social Development . Young Children. September 2010 p. 81-86. HUhttp://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/201009/MeeceOnline0910.pdfU
  • Greenman, Jim. Places for Childhood in the 21st Century: A Conceptual Framework. Beyond the Journal: Young Children on the Web, May 2005. HUhttp://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200505/01Greenman.pdfU
  • Early Literacy Research-Explained, Chapter 1 in Early Literacy Storytimes @ your library: Partnering with Caregivers for Success by Saroj Ghoting and Pamela Martin-Diaz. Chicago: ALA: 2006 HUhttp://www.alaeditions.org/files/Ghoting_ch1.pdfU
  • The following materials are suggested resources, though they may not be available for free:
  • Copple, Carol and Sue Bredekamp, eds. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 (3rd ed). Washington, DC: NAEYC, 2009.
  • Curtis, Deb and Margie Carter. Designs for Living and Learning: Transforming Early Childhood Environments. St.Paul, MN: Redleaf Press, 2003.
  • Diamant-Cohen, Betsy and Saroj Ghoting. Early Literacy Kit: A Handbook and Tip Cards. Chicago: ALA, 2010. (includes school readiness domains)
  • Feinberg, Sandra and James Keller. Designing Space for Children and Teens in Libraries and Public Places: How to Carve Out a Niche That Epitomizes Service. American Libraries. April 2010, pg. 34-37.
  • Gronlund, Gaye. Developmentally Appropriate Play: Guiding Young Children to a Higher Level. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press, 2010.
  • Harmes, Thelma. Environmental Rating Scales--Revised. New York: Teachers College Press, various dates.
  • Neuman, Susan B. et al. User’s Guide to the Child Home Early Language & Literacy Observation (CHELLO) Tool. Baltimore: Paul Brookes, 2007.
  • Seefeldt, Carol. Creating Rooms of Wonder: Valuing and Displaying Children’s Work to Enhance the Learning Process. Beltsville, MD: Gryphon House, 2002.
  • Tough, Paul. Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.
  • Zigler, Edward. Children’s Play; The Roots of Reading.  Washington, DC: Zero to Three, 2004.
  • Todd Risley interview: Children of the Code   www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/risley.htm
  • Library Environments for Early Literacy:  www.earlylit.net/libraryenvironment/index.shtml
  • Early Learning Standards  www.nectac.org/topics/quality/earlylearn.asp
  • School Readiness Domains  www.gettingready.org
  • Governors’ Common Core State Standards   www.corestandards.org

Saroj’s Slides:

How Does My Garden Grow? Children’s Programming Monthly v1 #8

You may still be coping with wintery days, but here at Children’s Programming Monthly, we’ve put away the umbrellas. “How Does My Garden Grow?” is ready to download, and it’s blooming with great ideas, books to read aloud, and fun activities:   

  • “Wonderful Worms” by Caroline Feller Bauer
  • “Grow, Grow, Grow!” by Judy Nichols
  • “Gardens” by Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting and Pamela Martin-Diaz
  • “Growing Books” by Sue McCleaf Nespeca and Joan B. Reeve
  • “In Our Garden” by Diane Briggs.

No subscribed yet? Visit us at http://www.alaeditions.org/cpm to sign up. If you have a program you would like to share,  you’ll find submission guidelines at www.alaeditions.org/cpm/submission/guidelines . Or contact me at szvirin@ala.org.

Design for Early Literacy

How you use space and design in your children’s area  can foster early literacy.  Saroj Ghoting will lead an ALA Editions Workshop on April 21 at 1:00 p.m. EDT that is sure to trigger ideas and support your planning. Below is an overview of the topics

  • Early literacy skills
  • Play
  • What are language-rich environments
  • Examples
  • Strategies
  • Considerations

We’ve collected a  a handful of examples of what language-rich environments in this Flickr set.

Among Saroj’s examples is the Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Library’s Play and Learn Islands™, interactive exhibits that encourage purposeful play. Play projecst like Discovery Dig, Big Build, and IlluminART develop skills in problem solving, sorting, sharing, early literacy, and collaboration. The colorful design, scale and varied activities appeal to a range of ages, encouraging families to play and explore together. Check out the library’s Flickr set.

You can register for this event or get more information at the ALA Store by going to: http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=3280

Liven Up Baby and Toddler Storytimes with Sign Language with Kathy MacMillan

When a friend mentioned using sign language with his toddler,  the trend was news to me.  I now know that thousands of hearing parents teaching their hearing children basic signs. Nonetheless, I was skeptical when Kathy MacMillan, an ALA Editions author and storyteller who also happens to be a certified American Sign Language interpreter, proposed an ALA Editions Workshop on signing in storytime. What’s with this? I asked in an email message. Is it a Baby-Mozart thing? Kathy’s reply was impassioned.

In fact, research shows that signing with young children stimulates both spoken AND signed language development, decreases frustration, enhances bonding, and promotes early literacy.  (The books Sign with Your Baby by Dr. Joseph Garcia and Dancing With Words by Marilyn Daniels summarize the research.)  I attribute the widespread interest in signing with babies and young children to the fact that it works!  When a child can tell you what he or she wants by signing instead of screaming, amazing things happen.  

Giving a young child the power to communicate can even save a life: a colleague of mine who teaches baby sign language classes in Arizona had an 18 month old girl in one of her classes who was bitten by a baby rattlesnake while playing in the garden with her mother.  Her mother didn't see the snake, and because the bite was so small she assumed it was just a bug bite.  Only when the little girl kept signing "snake" did the mother realize what had happened.  The girl survived, and if that story doesn't illustrate the benefits, I don't know what does.

But you don’t have to be fluent in American Sign Language to bring its benefits to your storytimes.  Kathy MacMillan sees sign language as another tool in the children’s librarian’s toolkit, much like using music, props, manipulatives, or a bit of Spanish. Perhaps the best reason? “Parents get really into it,” Kathy says. “Programmers sometimes complain when parents don’t interact with their kids. I can tell you emphatically that it’s not a problem when I’m using sign language in a program. Parents are excited to learn it because it makes their parenting lives easier.”

The goal of ALA Editions Workshops is to offer practical, actionable knowledge while promoting discussion, learning, and information sharing. The relatively small audience supports focused, discussion through the chat window. We assign homework too! For ideas on how sign language can enliven your programs, see Six Super Ways to Use Sign Language in Your Programs, which is one of the preliminary readings for Kathy's Workshop.

In the online Workshop,  Kathy will present the basics you need to know to effectively incorporate signs into stories, songs, and more, including videos to get you started. We will provide attendees with handouts for reference after the event. Here’s a video for the action rhyme. Caterpillar, Caterpillar
 



You can register for Kathy's Workshop at the ALA Store by going to http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=3277
 

New Children's Programming Monthly and New Bonus Issue

It’s bonus time! In addition to the regular issue of Children’s Programming Monthly, subscribers can download a free issue, put together especially for those of you getting ready for summer reading programs. Here’s a peek at what you get:

Issue number 6, “My Clothes,” is chockablock with storytime ideas. Share a song or choose a read-aloud from more than thirty book suggestions. Plan a program around making goofy hats or ties. Or have kids help you dress a flannelboard baby. Patterns and instructions are right in the issue.   

In  the “World Wise” bonus you’ll find seven ready-made programs that take children across the world.

  • Chinese Stories”  (activities and books galore)
  • The Foolish Merchant and the Greedy Camel (an easy, one-person puppet play)
  • African Tales: Action (rhymes, fingerplays, and book suggestions)
  • All around the World (songs, books and fun facts to share)
  • The Magic Fox (a folktale to tell aloud)
  • Festivals and Fiestas/Los festivales y las fiestas: (games, rhymes, and songs in Spanish and English)
  • Sing the World (songs and activities that celebrate one world)  

Both issues are ready to download now.

If you don't already subscribe, you can purchase your subscription at the ALA Store.

Jessica Moyer on Young Adult Readers' Advisory

On January 17, ALA Editions is launching a four-week, facilitated eCourse, Young Adult Readers’ Advisory, with Jessica E. Moyer, an ALA Editions author and LIS adjunct faculty at University of St. Catherine in Minnesota. ALA Editions interviewed Jessica about the course. To learn more and enroll, see the listing at the ALA Store.

I had a chance to talk with Jessica about her background, and what students can expect from this course.

Patrick Hogan: What’s your approach to teaching readers’ advisory in an online environment?

Jessica E. Moyer: One of the reasons I enjoy online teaching is the opportunity for all students to be fully involved in the course, regardless of where they are.  I create weekly discussion topics and expect all students to contribute regularly - the more contributions we have, the better the discussion.  Every time I teach I find that I learn new materials from my students and their interests and experiences.  

PH: What are a few of the factors that distinguish readers’ advisory services with teens from adult service?

JEM: I find that adult readers often know more about they like to read where as teen readers can struggle to say exactly what kind of reading experience they are looking for.  This means librarians suggesting books to teens may need to ask more questions, work with dislikes instead of likes and provide lots of interesting suggestions.  

PH: It seems like establishing rapport would be the critical. If a YA librarian has a knack for that, what readers’ advisory skill would deliver a  big boost in service?

JEM: Knowing how to talk about books in ways that teen will not only understand but will entice them into reading.  Knowing which books are mostly likely to appeal to certain readers.  

PH: A popular perception is that teens have neither the time nor the desire for leisure reading. What is your research telling you on that?

JEM: Teens do want to read, but they are limited by time.  I’ve found, however  that they are more limited by access.  If they can get access to materials they like and want to read, at a time they have a chance to read, they will read.  But often there are too many barriers - not sure what to read, no easy way to get it.  This is one reason I am excited about ebooks and digital library services - anything that will make it easier to get reading materials to teens when they have time to read.  

PH: You’ve probably learned from questions and discussion boards from your previous teaching experience. What about readers’ advisory with teens do librarians find most challenging?

JEM: Knowing when and what adult books to suggest.  Lots of teen readers like reading adult books, but aren’t sure what to read that they will enjoy.  Most teen librarians are familiar with the YA collections but may not know much about adult books so they can be challenged when working with these types of teens.

Help Your Patrons and Your Library Go Green with Make-and-Take Recycled Crafts

Inspire patrons to reuse things they’d ordinarily throw away. Not only does this help the planet, it also fosters creativity, a quality many children don’t cultivate because they spend so much time with technology.

This activity can take place on one day, or you can provide a regular table for make-and-take crafts, varying the project regularly.

Display books featuring crafts made from recycled materials (along with examples of the more complicated projects, if you want to make some).

Set up an area in the library where interested patrons can make some of the simpler crafts to take home. Post directions with the materials, or have someone available to help people. If you lack staff for this activity, try recruiting volunteers. Some high schools have environmental action clubs, whose members might make sample crafts ahead of time and/or work at your event.

Use these super simple ideas, or consult books from the list below. Each issue of Highlights Magazine for Children also offers crafts made from household objects.

If the library doesn’t have enough materials, solicit donations through newsletters and posters.

BOOKMARKS

Children cut off the corners of reply envelopes from junk mail and decorate them with stamps or crayons.

CALENDAR PUZZLES

Children cut old calendar pictures into four to twelve pieces, depending on the picture’s size and the degree of difficulty they want their puzzles to have. Provide reply envelopes from junk mail for storing each puzzle’s pieces.

CALENDAR BINGO (A GAME FOR TWO PLAYERS)

Play Bingo with an old calendar.

Tear off the pages for three months. Make sure at least two start on different days of the week. Cut apart the squares for one month. Mix them up. Spread them out facedown in the middle of the playing area.

Each player puts one of the other months in front of him/her.
Take turns picking up a square and putting it in the corresponding section of your month. Keep playing until someone gets four in a row, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. That player wins. (The squares need not be consecutive, just in the same row. For example, you could win with 5, 7, 9, and 11 in one week, even though those four numbers aren’t consecutive.)

Store the pages and squares in reused mailing envelopes.

BOOKS WITH CRAFTS FROM RECYCLED MATERIALS (745.5)

Anton, Carrie. Earth Smart Crafts.
Bone, Emily. Recycling Things to Make and Do.
Burke, Judy. Look What You Can Make with Paper Bags.
Chapman, Gillian. Making Art with Packaging.
Friday, Megan. Green Crafts.
Jones, Jen. Cool Crafts with Newspapers, Magazines, and Junk Mail.
Kohl, MaryAnn F. Art with Anything.
Nguyen, Duy. Junk Mail Origami.
Ochester, Betsy. Look What You Can Make with Egg Cartons.
Redleaf, Rhoda. Learn and Play the Green Way: Fun Activities with Reusable Materials*.
Richmond, Margie Hayes. Look What You Can Make with Paper Plates.
_____. Look What You Can Make with Tubes.
Ross, Kathy. Earth-Friendly Crafts
_____. Every Day is Earth Day.
_____. Look What You Can Make with Dozens of Household Items!
_____. Look What You Can Make with Newspapers, Magazines, and Greeting Cards.
_____. Look What You Can Make with Plastic Bottles and Tubs.
Siomades, Lorianne. Look What You Can Make with Boxes.
Sirrine, Carol. Cool Crafts with Old CDs.
_____. Cool Crafts with Old Jeans.
_____. Cool Crafts with Old T-Shirts.
_____. Cool Crafts with Old Wrappers, Cans, and Bottles.
Sullivan, Susan White.The Big Green Book of Recycled Crafts.
Warwick, Ellen. 50 Ways to Get Your Carton.
Young, Karen Romano. Science Fair Winners: Junkyard Science.

*written for adults who work with children

Dee Anderson is the author of Reading Is Funny!: Motivating Kids to Read with Riddles (ALA Editions, 2009)

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