Last week I shared the RHS Reading Challenge and wanted to share a little more about how we are attempting to grow and promote a reading culture here at Ryan High School.
Interactive Student Book Recommendations
One of the categories in our reading challenge is to read something recommended by another student. Thankfully, Tiffany Whitehead, (also known as @librarian_tiff) already had a great sign with creative commons license that we could incorporate in our library showcase! We have two book stacks dedicated to this interactive student recommendation display and a stack of post-it notes readily available. Students are just supposed to grab a book they would recommend, write their reason for recommending it on a sticky, and leave it on the shelf for someone to read.
To help the kids notice the display, I created this poster in Canva and added real sticky notes for dimensionality. It hangs above the shelves to get their attention.
I’m also asking some teachers to bring their classes in just to leave recommendations and spend a little time in the library reading in our cozy seating. Because even though our library is a little loud sometimes, I still want to facilitate a reading culture in what was once a quiet library. With testing season around the bend, students are needing a little more independent reading time built into their school day. Plus, I have a dedicated area in our library just for reading. It’s one of my fav places to go during the day when I want to be reminded that even teenagers read. And they read REAL BOOKS! (And if you must know, I do actually make kids be quiet if they sit here. I move them to other collaborative spots if they want to talk or work on something actively with others.)
Close up of Student Recommendations
Lastly, if the student book recommendations shelf gets too bare, I’m asking my lunch time readers to find books they’d want others to read and leave recommendations for others. Here are some intriguing #bookrecs left by students so far:
Teachers Sharing Reading Habits
While I think it’s super important for students to share with others what they are reading, I think it is equally important for our teachers to show that they value reading as well. At the beginning of the school year, I asked one of our creative students to hand draw some signs for our teacher doorways after seeing Michelle Cooper’s frames for teachers. I finally scanned, printed, and laminated my student’s handcrafted version so we could hang them on the doorways of teachers who would like to share their independent reading habits.
We’ve only just hung these up, but I’m already loving seeing the blend of reading habits by our teachers. Some teachers are reading multiple books, some love nonfiction, and others are re-reading favorites. I also noticed one teacher printed their book cover as a way to share what they are reading, so I copied that for my own sign! We’ve even got a few of these signs hung at our circulation desk from our student aides and library groupies who just want to share what they are currently reading.
Plus, the student who made these signs is SO PROUD to see her work in the hallways, she’s already offered to make a few more!
So what are some ways you promote a reading culture at your school? What do you do when you struggle with getting teens to read books independently?