Promoting a Reading Culture- Part Two

colleengravesposts (20).png

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?


Reading Challenge – Promoting a Reading Culture

I’ve had a couple of requests via Instagram and Twitter to explain my 2017 Reading Challenge. This reading challenge started as a way to increase reading on my campus and hopefully facilitate growing our reading culture.

Background on Reading Challenge

In December, Carol Richmond the awesome librarian at Wilson Elementary, sent out an email about Reading Challenge that she was sharing with her staff. I loved the IDEA and quickly decided to adapt it for my high school students and teachers!

The challenge is to read outside of your normal reading zone. For my high schoolers, the challenge is to just get them reading! I also thought it would be good to challenge our teachers to read and share what they are reading on a regular basis. I’m planning on sending out a monthly email recapping what I read for the month and reminding my teachers of the different reading categories (and reminding them to submit reading responses via a Googleform on my library page.) My method is to pretty much hassle everyone to read all the time. 🙂

Here is a list of the categories (updated from Mrs. Richmond’s form to include high school reading materials like the TAYSHAS and Nerdy Book Club winners.)


My first display is below, and I’m brainstorming ways I can update the Reading Challenge display by month… so if you have any ideas, let me know! I’m currently thinking of choosing a category  (recommended by a student) and making the whole display about that category. Plus I’ll update the “Reading Challenge” signage.

For this first display, I’ve included lots of categories and labeled what category each book will fill on small laminated speech bubbles.

I was hoping to make our Google Form for submitting reads more accessible by creating this QR code bookmarks. For teachers, reminding via email seems to work the best.

Submitting Reads

For students, I’ve also got the link to submit books open on a Chromebook right next to our dropbox. (Which also happens to be a Makey Makey Minion)

Promoting Reading and the Library

Favorite Books?
Another idea I’ve had for promoting a reading culture is to take pics of teachers and students reading their favorite books and posting these around our campus. Or maybe rotating “Currently reading” slides on our Google Slide announcements.
I think small quick displays seem to work the best for getting students to pick up new books. So I’m excited to copy this idea from The Daring Librarian for the “student recommendation” category for the next Reading Challenge Display.
Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 6.15.20 PM.png
How do you promote a reading culture in your library?