While the role of the school librarian is rapidly evolving in the world of e-books and digital literacy, reading is still at the core of our profession.  Helping students find a book they enjoy or information they need is one of my greatest joys.  Supporting students in empowering themselves through literacy is the most important thing we do as teachers and school librarians. Below you will find some examples of ways I promote reading and writing.Literacy

Targeted Book Clubs

At Lakewood Montessori middle school, we identified areas of need in terms of literacy in our student population and began lunchtime book clubs to meet the need.  The intention of these lunchtime book clubs is to expose children to exceptional literature, to cultivate in students the explicit mental habits of analyzing writing as they read it, and to promote the skills necessary for productive group discussion about intellectually stimulating topics.  You can read more about these book clubs in my blog posts titled Lunchtime Targeted Book Clubs and  EXCLUSIVE!.

Student Book Reviews

Lakewood students write reviews of books which they enjoy and post them to the Learning Commons site.  You can see samples of those on our student review page.

Battle of the Books

I coach the LMMS Battle of the Books team, preparing them for the quiz-bowl style competition which happens in the spring.  Students compete against other teams in the district, answering questions about the nearly thirty books on the yearly list.  Our students are putting together a LMMS BOB Wiki, each team putting together a section with notes and sample questions about the books.

NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Project

This year I sponsored close to twenty LMMS students as they participated in the Young Writer’s Project for National Novel Writing Month.  We had nine winners!

Reading Ladders

Reading ladders allow students to progress in their reading, beginning with the most accessible and least challenging book, (the “bottom rung” of the ladder), and working their way up the ladder in small steps, each time moving to a similar, but slightly more challenging text.

Formation of the Universe and the Solar System Reading Ladder – Designed to complement the research pathfinder for the same topic, this reading ladder offers students progressively more challenging and informative texts to learn about the Formation of the Universe and the Solar System.  It demonstrates my ability to scaffold student learning as well as support the information needs of students with diverse learning styles.

Going Bovine Reading Ladder – For students who enjoyed the 2010 Printz Award winner, Going Bovine by Libba Bray, I developed a reading ladder of related texts for what they should try next.  This reading ladder is part of a website I developed for the Going Bovine book trailer I created.

Book Trailers

As part of my coursework at UNC SILS, I developed a booktrailer for Going Bovine, designed to introduce students to the wild ride that is this Libba Bray novel.  Similar to a movie trailer, book trailers are a visually exciting way  to introduce students to books they might not otherwise pick up.  They are often particularly effective with students who don’t consider themselves readers.  Visit the Everybody is Going Bovine website I developed to view this trailer and explored additional resources related to the book.


As part of my coursework at UNC SILS, I took Dr. Brian Sturm’s storytelling course.  Through this course, I performed three different stories in class and two in public performances.  One of my favorites stories was “The Shining Lodge”, a Native American tale from the Blackfoot tribe.  Please review the cue card I developed for this performance, which demonstrates my understanding of the developmental needs of a specific audience.