DIY Book Trading Cards

DIY Book Trading Cards
JANUARY 9, 2019 BY KAREN JENSEN, TLT LEAVE A COMMENT
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My family traveled over the holidays and at one point, we saw a TSA agent with a K9 dog. Thing 2 pointed and said, “look, there’s a dog,” which prompted the TS-9 to hand her a trading card made about the dog, whose name was Hilbert. It was a genius marketing strategy to make kids comfortable and satisfy their curiosity while maintaining their distance and prevent them from approaching or petting the working dogs.

tradingcards7 tradingcards8I kept thinking about this K9 trading card and all the fun marketing potential it has. So the other day I tweeted and said, what if we made book trading cards? I liked the idea so much that I then started obsessively figuring out ways to make trading cards and exploring the best tools, as I have a tendency to do. Here’s a look at 5 tools I used, the trading cards I created using them, and then at the end of this post I have a few ideas for ways that we can use the idea of trading cards to promote reading, programs and libraries in school and public libraries.

Instax Mini Trading Cards

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As regular readers know, I am recently obsessed with the Instax Mini camera. I like the wide variety of things you can do with it AND the fact that you get an instant picture. Patience is not a virtue I have and I don’t have a lot of art or tech skills. You can buy a variety of Instax Mini sticker frames, which have a piece that goes on the back of your photo, which helps make this project work. This back sticker makes it so that you can use both sides of the photograph to make quick and easy trading cards. Use a Sharpie marker (I found the Extra Fine tip worked the best) to write on the front and back of your instant photo. You can also use metallic silver Sharpies to write directly on the black back if you don’t have sticker frames. I wrote various facts and gave a rating for my book in the margins of the photo. Here I did an example using the upcoming book Dig by A. S. King.

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The benefit to this method is that it is seriously quick and easy. The drawback, of course, is that you have to have a couple of Instax Mini cameras on hand, which I recommend. (Did I mention I am a huge fan?) Film is not, however, cheap and I haven’t found it for less than around $0.68 a picture. So though it may be quick, easy and kind of low tech, it’s not in-expensive. The Instax Mini is a fun device, with immediate results and most tweens and teens I know are currently really interested in this device. This is a good starting place if you want easy and immediate results.

Sports Card Pro App

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The trading card that you see in the upper right hand card was made using the Sports Card Pro app, which I downloaded for free. It has in app purchases, but the initial app download is free. I made no additional purchases to create my trading card so the entire product was free to me.

Where you see the rocket ship in the left hand corner the Sports Card Pro app gives you a choice of various sports balls to put in that corner. This didn’t really work for me so I saved my picture and opened it in another app, Candy Camera, to add the rocket ship. But if you want a sports theme, you can do it all in this app and pretty quickly. I made the example you see in this picture in about 2 minutes while laying in bed with the TV on in the background and no real experience with the app. I tell you this because I want you to understand how quick and easy it was.

One of the things I liked about this app is how much focus it put on the picture, but that left less room for text. It has rigidly set text boxes and design elements, so it doesn’t allow for a lot of personalization or moving elements around. Some people would like this, but I found it frustrating as I wanted to move certain elements slightly in one direction or another and it just doesn’t give you that freedom of design. You could get around this problem by doing the most basic design in this app, saving your card and then uploading it into another app – like Over or PS Express – to add more design elements, but that’s a lot of additional steps and requires some additional knowledge.

Because this is a mobile device app, you have to be able to print wirelessly to some type of device. Because I knew I wanted a small, trading card size, I used the Print to Size app on my cell phone which allows you better control over sizing as opposed to simply printing from a mobile device to a wireless printer. I printed to both a regular printer and a Selphy photo printer, which I discuss more at the end of this post.

So while this is a good app for designing a sports themed card, it’s not necessarily good for other themes. It was quick and easy, but not very versatile.

Trading Card Creator at ReadThinkWrite

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This is a free online program that has an educational focus, so it has a lot more room for text. You can include facts about the book, main characters, setting, etc. After you go through the generator – which is an easy to fill out step by step form – you download your card as a .pdf and it prints on a piece of letter size paper. Adobe is required to run the program.

When you print out your page it comes with instructions that tell you to cut it out, fold it, and tape it closed. It prints in color, but I accidentally printed mine in black and white. If you choose the “Make Your Own” option it allows you to put in your own category headings. Otherwise, the big section headings are pre-programmed, which can be a great feature for younger or newer users. However, it does not seem to allow you to move the various elements or text boxes around, so format wise there isn’t a lot of versatility here either. This is a quick and easy tool, but if you want more personalization or versatility, this isn’t the best tool for you. It’s a really great starting place and will work really well in most school or library settings.

Freehand Design Tools: Microsoft Publisher, Google Draw and Canva

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I used the format presented in the ReadWriteThink card and a sports trading card I had at home for inspiration to try my final option: Microsoft Publisher, Canva and Google Draw. Each of these programs are publishing programs that allow you the greatest amount of freedom and versatility in how you design and where you place your various trading card elements. You can see the results in the bottom left hand corner of the picture above. Both Canva and Google Draw are basically no or low cost programs that allow you to do freehand design. Microsoft Publisher requires the purchase of a yearly license and it is costly. All three design programs require a certain amount of skill, which most people get just by tinkering around in the programs. I am least well versed in Google Draw and abandoned that medium pretty quickly for something more familiar. I use Publisher and Canva pretty frequently so I was able to produce something I liked pretty quickly and without a lot of difficulty. The final product you see in the picture above was made using Publisher, which I am most comfortable with and, I feel, gives you the most freedom. The Teen and many of the teens I work with, however, are much more familiar with Google Draw and would probably prefer it.

After completing my card design I grouped all my design elements, right clicked on my trading card, saved it as a .jpeg and printed it to size. I was able to print 6 cards per one letter size sheet of card stock paper. Saving it as a .jpeg also allows you to upload it and share it on social media or easily transfer it from one device to another, like from my laptop to my cell phone. There are some real advantages to having a .jpeg file versus a .pdf file.

Printing My Trading Cards

All of the options allow you to save and print your trading card in one fashion or another. If you use a freehand graphics program you can save as a .jpg and print on card stock. You’ll want to use card stock to give it the heft of a trading card. If you have the option, I would print to photo paper to give it that glossy trading card look. Although I liked the look of the curved edges for the trading card design, it requires some additional cutting which was harder to make look nice with my questionable scissor skills. I liked the straight lines because I could use a paper cutter and get nice, straight edges. Your mileage may vary.

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If printing from a handheld device I would recommend using the Print to Size app and printing 2 trading cards side by side on one postcard using the Selphy printer and cutting them apart. This was the method of printing I used in the very first picture of this post. Printing with a Selphy printer or onto photo paper using a traditional printer gives you that glossy trading card resembling finish. If you’re not familiar with the Selphy photo printer, it’s a tool I highly recommend for anyone wanting to print photos from a mobile device. It’s small, portable and has its own built in wi-fi so you can take it with you on outreach events and print immediately from a smart phone or tablet. I reviewed the Selphy printer here if you would like more information.

Things to Include on a Book Trading Card

Title
Author
Setting
A catchphrase or brief descriptive phrase
Fun facts like characters, themes
If you like X, read this statements . . .
A star rating
What to Do with Book Trading Cards?

At it’s most basic, libraries could make book trading cards for our favorite or most recent YA titles and hand them out during book talks or at outreach events. Imagine book talking a book then handing each tween or teen a card with a picture of the book cover and a few basic facts about the book so they could remember to ask for it. Wouldn’t it be great to have teens come into the library after a day of booktalking and just hand staff a book trading card instead of trying to remember details about the book you booktalked that they want and hoping that staff can get enough details to get the right book into their hands?

This would also be a great marketing tool for the library itself or for specific programs. For example, during National Library Week multi-branch systems could make cards for each branch with basic facts about the branch and hand them out to visitors. Libraries could host some type of challenge inviting patrons to visit as many branches as possible during National Library Week and offering an entry into a prize for patrons who get one card from X number of branches.

Beyond using book trading cards as a promotional tool, we could also get tools into the hands of tweens and teens and encourage them to make their own. This activity combines reading/literacy with making, helping us achieve more of our goals. Have a program day where you provide a couple of Instax Mini cameras and some Sharpies and challenge teens to make their own trading cards. Or set up an ongoing station in the corner of your library and make a trading card wall to display teen created book trading cards. Teens could stop in during lunch, study hall or after school and make a quick book trading card and put it on your wall recommending books to their peers.

Learning how to use a good graphics program is a valuable skill for anyone, so don’t be afraid to have some in-depth sessions where you teach teens how to use Publisher, Canva or Google Draw and challenge them to design their own book trading cards. Many schools and libraries have tech training labs and this would be a fun project to teach design basics with some set parameters. I have found that many people want some concrete guidelines and examples to begin learning design with and here we would have a built in template to help guide us.

And don’t forget that if you want an easy to use template, you can have tweens and teens use the ReadWriteThink trading card creator. Print two of each card, one for participants to take home and one to display on an RA wall or book display. Or print 3 – so they can trade!

Some Final Thoughts and Perspectives

Depending on what you need, there are pros and cons to each of the various methods used above. Most school and public libraries are already set up to use something like the ReadWriteThink trading card creator and print. This is probably a really good starting point.

I highly recommend purchasing a smart phone/tablet and Selphy printer for any teen library space that wants to do a lot of photo based making and programming, but it does require some initial financial investment and the ongoing cost of the specific Selphy paper. You would need multiple devices to have a program, though you can connect multiple devices to one Selphy printer. Or you can set up a small maker station using one device and one printer and allow teens to create as they wanted. Not every teen area or school library has the space or the staff, but if you do a small maker station is a good idea.

And in my ideal world, I would write a grant to get 5 to 10 Instax Mini cameras for a teen space or program to do a wide variety of programming things there. You could also just have one and have teens share or set up a maker station using this method as well.

Don’t forget to create a hashtag so you can encourage tweens and teens to share their book trading cards online.

I made a wide variety of trading cards using all 5 methods over a two-day period. I spent all in all about 3 hours making trading cards. Again, I am a pretty proficient user of both Publisher and Canva so I didn’t have to learn the basics. Each method has its pros and cons and really all of them work pretty well. I liked the Sports Card Pro app the least, mainly because I was not making a sports themed trading card and it required some work around to get rid of the sports themes. As you can see, for my examples I used Thing 2’s Operation BB as a theme for my example cards, mainly because I had those photos readily available on my phone. We did, in fact, print out several of the cards we liked best – the one made in Publisher – and handed them out as a promotional tool and people thought they were very cool. I also uploaded it to the Operation BB social media page. These will, in fact, work really well as fun promotional tools. I had a lot of fun making the trading cards and highly recommend it.

So now it’s your turn. Make a trading card for your favorite book or book character and sharing it with us in the comments or on social media using the hasthag #BookTradingCard. I would love to see what everyone is creating (and reading!)

http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2019/01/diy-book-trading-cards/

Poetry Gumball Machine!

Poetry Gumball Machine!

A bookstore in Brooklyn has just announced the loveliest new instalment: a poetry gumball machine where all the proceeds go to Planned Parenthood. The bookstore in question is Books Are Magic, a gorgeous independent bookstore in Cobble Hill owned by Modern Lovers author Emma Straub. Their poetry gumball machine is characteristically creative; the poems themselves have been water-colored by hand, and can be bought for a quarter. If you’re lucky, you might even get one of the special coupons that have been sprinkled throughout the vending machine as well!

Books Are Magic have long been inspiring visitors to their store with their cute hand-drawn blackboard, on which they write lists such as “Fierce Women in Fiction” and “Fave Siblings in Literature.” It’s clear that everyone who works at the bookstore has a passion for words so strong it’s infectious — and this poetry gumball machine is sure to generate a whole new community of poetry-lovers in Brooklyn.

On Instagram, Books Are Magic posted a picture of their first customer’s poem, which was the sweet and quirky ‘This Is Just To Say’ by William Carlos Williams. If you’re anywhere near Brooklyn, you’re going to want to run over to Books Are Magic right this minute and see what surprise poem you end up with — while donating to Planned Parenthood at the same time!

Unique independent bookstores like Books Are Magic keep the magic of literature well and truly alive, and creative ideas like this show why these bookstores remain so beloved. I hope that Books Are Magic keep updating us so we can see some of the other poems pulled from their colorful gumball machine!
Books are Magic – Brooklyn bookstore

Follow them on Instagram (and see more pictures): booksaremagicbk

Article source:
https://www.bustle.com/p/books-are-magic-bookstores-gumball-machine-takes-planned-parenthood-donations-gives-you-a-poem-72522

New book releases for Middle School

Cosmic Commandos
by Christopher Eliopoulos
Christopher Eliopoulos, a comic book creator who’s well-known for illustrating the books in Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World series, is the talented artist and author behind this fun graphic novel for middle grade readers. Jam-packed with extraordinary hijinks, Cosmic Commandos stars a pair of identical twins who stumble upon a magic ring that allows them to live out a favorite video game in real life. It’s an adventure story that will hook tweens from beginning to end.
(On Sale: 7/4/17)

Lights, Camera, Middle School!
by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm
Middle school is all about fitting in, but Babymouse was born to stand out! What better way to do that than to join film club? With a script in hand, Babymouse sets out to direct their first film … and quickly finds that being a director isn’t as easy as she imagined. Can Babymouse pull it off? With a seamless blend of graphics and prose, this first in a new series promises kids who have grown up loving Babymouse many more hilarious adventures with the lovable character.
(On Sale: 7/4/17)

Walking with Miss Millie
by Tamara Bundy
Alice isn’t at all happy about moving from Columbus, Ohio to boring old Rainbow, Georgia. To make matters worse, she’s been tasked with walking her elderly neighbor’s dog, Clarence, who stubbornly won’t go anywhere without his owner, Miss Millie. Set against the backdrop of the late ’60s, a friendship forms as Alice learns about Miss Millie’s life, including the tragedy and loss she has suffered at the hands of racism. As Miss Millie unravels her story, she shares the ways in which she has overcome pain and anger; sets an example of kindness, generosity, and positive spirit; and inspires Alice to address her own feelings of loss along the way.
(On Sale: 7/4/17)

It All Comes Down to This
by Karen English
This middle grade novel, set in Los Angeles in the summer of 1965 and inspired by real-life events, is already earning a host of starred reviews from the likes of Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. Twelve-year-old Sophie’s life changes when she and her family become the first African Americans to move into their new neighborhood. When riots erupt in nearby Watts, Sophie is forced to think about her place in the world in a whole new way. Balancing humor and a host of relatable issues, English has written a thoughtful and moving coming-of-age tale for tweens.
(On Sale: 7/11/17)

The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide
by Chris Colfer
See how it all wraps up in the final tale in author Chris Colfer’s bestselling Land of Stories series. Things are chaotic — all of the Land of Stories fairy tale characters are no longer confined to their world. Connor and Alex will have to try to win their biggest battle yet and restore order. Expect laughs, plenty of action, and a little sadness that this is the end.
(On Sale: 7/11/17)

Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win
by Rachel Ignotofsky
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Women in Science comes an awesome new anthology featuring fearless females. This time the focus is pioneering female athletes. Ignotofsky highlights the stories of 50 women from the 1800s through today who soared to great heights and broke new ground. Tweens can read about all kinds of athletes — from the well-known gymnastics star Simone Biles to the lesser-known skateboarding pioneer Patti McGee. A great addition to any tween’s bookshelf.
(On Sale: 7/18/17)

Spirit Hunters
by Ellen Oh
Ellen Oh, the author of the YA Prophecy series and cofounder of We Need Diverse Books, launches a new mystery series for middle grade readers with this riveting first installment. Harper Raine’s family just moved into a new house that she’s starting to think is haunted. When her younger brother begins behaving oddly, she knows she has to step in and figure out what ghosts might be hiding in their home.
(On Sale: 7/25/17)

Source: http://www.readbrightly.com/best-childrens-ya-books-july-2017/?sid=302&mcg=4D232B47C9758D8FE0534FD66B0AD50A&ref=PRH0563577803&aid=randohouseinc13256-20&linkid=PRH0563577803&cdi=3799D21575922120E0534FD66B0AEEBE

What Doesn’t Work: Literacy Practices We Should Abandon

JUNE 3, 2016

The number one concern that I hear from educators is lack of time, particularly lack of instructional time with students. It’s not surprising that we feel a press for time. Our expectations for students have increased dramatically, but our actual class time with students has not. Although we can’t entirely solve the time problem, we can mitigate it by carefully analyzing our use of class time, looking for what Beth Brinkerhoff and Alysia Roehrig (2014) call “time wasters.”

Consider the example of calendar time. In many U.S. early elementary classrooms, this practice eats up 15-20 minutes daily, often in a coveted early-morning slot when students are fresh and attentive. Some calendar time activities may be worthwhile. For example, teachers might use this time for important teaching around grouping and place value. But other activities are questionable at best. For example, is the following routine still effective if it’s already February and your students still don’t know:

Yesterday was _______.
Today is _______.
Tomorrow will be _______,

Does dressing a teddy bear for the weather each day make optimal use of instructional time? Some teachers respond, “But we love our teddy bear, and it only takes a few minutes!” But three minutes a day for 180 days adds up to nine hours. Children would also love engineering design projects, deep discussions of texts they’ve read, or math games.

5 Less-Than-Optimal Practices

To help us analyze and maximize use of instructional time, here are five common literacy practices in U.S. schools that research suggests are not optimal use of instructional time:

1. “Look Up the List” Vocabulary Instruction

Students are given a list of words to look up in the dictionary. They write the definition and perhaps a sentence that uses the word. What’s the problem?

We have long known that this practice doesn’t build vocabulary as well as techniques that actively engage students in discussing and relating new words to known words, for example through semantic mapping (Bos & Anders, 1990). As Charlene Cobb and Camille Blachowicz (2014) document, research has revealed so many effective techniques for teaching vocabulary that a big challenge now is deciding among them.

2. Giving Students Prizes for Reading

From March is Reading Month to year-long reading incentive programs, it’s common practice in the U.S. to give students prizes (such as stickers, bracelets, and fast food coupons) for reading. What’s the problem?

Unless these prizes are directly related to reading (e.g., books), this practice actually makes students less likely to choose reading as an activity in the future (Marinak & Gambrell, 2008). It actually undermines reading motivation. Opportunities to interact with peers around books, teacher “book blessings,” special places to read, and many other strategies are much more likely to foster long-term reading motivation (Marinak & Gambrell, 2016).

3. Weekly Spelling Tests

Generally, all students in a class receive a single list of words on Monday and are expected to study the words for a test on Friday. Distribution of the words, in-class study time, and the test itself use class time. What’s the problem?

You’ve all seen it — students who got the words right on Friday misspell those same words in their writing the following Monday! Research suggests that the whole-class weekly spelling test is much less effective than an approach in which different students have different sets of words depending on their stage of spelling development, and emphasis is placed on analyzing and using the words rather than taking a test on them (see Palmer & Invernizzi, 2015 for a review).

4. Unsupported Independent Reading

DEAR (Drop Everything and Read), SSR (Sustained Silent Reading), and similar approaches provide a block of time in which the teacher and students read books of their choice independently. Sounds like a great idea, right?

Studies have found that this doesn’t actually foster reading achievement. To make independent reading worthy of class time, it must include instruction and coaching from the teacher on text selection and reading strategies, feedback to students on their reading, and text discussion or other post-reading response activities (for example, Kamil, 2008; Reutzel, Fawson, & Smith, 2008; see Miller & Moss, 2013 for extensive guidance on supporting independent reading).

5. Taking Away Recess as Punishment

What is this doing on a list of literacy practices unworthy of instructional time? Well, taking away recess as a punishment likely reduces students’ ability to benefit from literacy instruction. How?

There is a considerable body of research linking physical activity to academic learning. For example, one action research study found that recess breaks before or after academic lessons led to students being more on task (Fagerstrom & Mahoney, 2006). Students with ADHD experience reduced symptoms when they engage in physical exercise (Pontifex et al., 2012) — ironic given that students with ADHD are probably among the most likely to have their recess taken away. There are alternatives to taking away recess that are much more effective and don’t run the risk of reducing students’ attention to important literacy instruction (Cassetta & Sawyer, 2013).

Measure of Success

Whether or not you engage in these specific activities, they provide a sense that there are opportunities to make better use of instructional time in U.S. schools. I encourage you to scrutinize your use of instructional time minute by minute. If a practice is used because we’ve always done it that way or because parents expect it, it’s especially worthy of a hard look. At the same time, if a practice consistently gets results in an efficient and engaging way, protect it at all costs. Together we can rid U.S. classrooms of what does notwork.

Notes

  • Bos, C.S. & Anders, P.L. (1990). “Effects of interactive vocabulary instruction on the vocabulary learning and reading comprehension of junior-high learning-disabled students.” Learning Disability Quarterly, 13, pp.31-42.
  • Brinkerhoff, E.H. & Roehrig, A.D. (2014). No more sharpening pencils during work time and other time wasters. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Cassetta, G. & Sawyer, B. (2013). No more taking away recess and other problematic discipline practices. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Cobb, C. & Blachowicz, C. (2014). No more “look up the list” vocabulary instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Fagerstrom, T. & Mahoney, K. (2006). “Give me a break! Can strategic recess scheduling increase on-task behaviour for first graders?” Ontario Action Researcher, 9(2).
  • Kamil, M.L. (2008). “How to get recreational reading to increase reading achievement.” In 57th Yearbook of the National Reading Conference, pp.31-40. Oak Creek, WI: National Reading Conference.
  • Marinak, B.A. & Gambrell, L. (2016). No more reading for junk: Best practices for motivating readers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Miller, D. & Moss, B. (2013). No more independent reading without support. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Palmer, J.L. & Invernizzi, M. (2015). No more spelling and phonics worksheets. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Pontifex, M.B., Saliba, B.J., Raine, L.B., Picchietti, D.L., & Hillman, C.H. (2012). “Exercise improves behavioral, neurocognitive, and scholastic performance in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” The Journal of Pediatrics, 162(3), pp.543-551.
  • Reutzel, D.R., Fawson, P., & Smith, J. (2008). “Reconsidering silent sustained reading: An exploratory study of scaffolded silent reading.”Journal of Educational Research, 102, pp.37–50.

Source: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/literacy-practices-we-should-abandon-nell-k-duke

11 Alternatives to “Round Robin” (and “Popcorn”) Reading

DECEMBER 1, 2014

Round Robin Reading (RRR) has been a classroom staple for over 200 years and an activity that over half of K-8 teachers report using in one of its many forms, such as Popcorn Reading. RRR’s popularity endures, despite overwhelming criticism that the practice is ineffective for its stated purpose: enhancing fluency, word decoding, and comprehension. Cecile Somme echoes that perspective in Popcorn Reading: The Need to Encourage Reflective Practice: “Popcorn reading is one of the sure-fire ways to get kids who are already hesitant about reading to really hate reading.”

Facts About Round Robin Reading

In RRR, students read orally from a common text, one child after another, while the rest of the class follows along in their copies of the text. Several spinoffs of the technique offer negligible advantages over RRR, if any. They simply differ in how the reading transition occurs:

  • Popcorn Reading: A student reads orally for a time, and then calls out “popcorn” before selecting another student in class to read.
  • Combat Reading: A kid nominates a classmate to read in the attempt to catch a peer off task, explains Gwynne Ash and Melanie Kuhn in their chapter of Fluency Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices.
  • Popsicle Stick Reading: Student names are written on Popsicle sticks and placed in a can. The learner whose name is drawn reads next.
  • Touch Go Reading: As described by Professor Cecile Somme, the instructor taps a child when it’s his or her turn to read.

Of the thirty-odd studies and articles I’ve consumed on the subject, only one graduate research paper claimed a benefit to RRR or its variations, stating tepidly that perhaps RRR isn’t as awful as everyone says. Katherine Hilden and Jennifer Jones’ criticism is unmitigated: “We know of no research evidence that supports the claim that RRR actually contributes to students becoming better readers, either in terms of their fluency or comprehension.” (PDF)

Why all the harshitude? Because Round Robin Reading . . .

  • Stigmatizes poor readers. Imagine the terror that English-language learners and struggling readers face when made to read in front of an entire class.
  • Weakens comprehension. Listening to a peer orally read too slowly, too fast, or too haltingly weakens learners’ comprehension — a problem exacerbated by turn-taking interruptions.
  • Sabotages fluency and pronunciation. Struggling readers model poor fluency skills and pronunciation. When instructors correct errors, fluency is further compromised.

To be clear, oral reading does improve fluency, comprehension and word recognition (though silent/independent reading should occur far more frequently as students advance into the later grades). Fortunately, other oral reading activities offer significant advantages over RRR and its cousins. As you’ll see in the list below, many of them share similar features.

11 Better Approaches

1. Choral Reading

The teacher and class read a passage aloud together, minimizing struggling readers’ public exposure. In a 2011 study of over a hundred sixth graders (PDF, 232KB), David Paige found that 16 minutes of whole-class choral reading per week enhanced decoding and fluency. In another version, every time the instructor omits a word during her oral reading, students say the word all together.

2. Partner Reading

Two-person student teams alternate reading aloud, switching each time there is a new paragraph. Or they can read each section at the same time.

3. PALS

The Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) exercises pair strong and weak readers who take turns reading, re-reading, and retelling.

4. Silent Reading

For added scaffolding, frontload silent individual reading with vocabulary instruction, a plot overview, an anticipation guide, or KWL+ activity.

5. Teacher Read Aloud

This activity, says Julie Adams of Adams Educational Consulting, is “perhaps one of the most effective methods for improving student fluency and comprehension, as the teacher is the expert in reading the text and models how a skilled reader reads using appropriate pacing and prosody (inflection).” Playing an audiobook achieves similar results.

6. Echo Reading

Students “echo” back what the teacher reads, mimicking her pacing and inflections.

7. Shared Reading/Modeling

By reading aloud while students follow along in their own books, theinstructor models fluency, pausing occasionally to demonstrate comprehension strategies. (PDF, 551KB)

8. The Crazy Professor Reading Game

Chris Biffle’s Crazy Professor Reading Game video (start watching at 1:49) is more entertaining than home movies of Blue Ivy. To bring the text to life, students . . .

  • Read orally with hysterical enthusiasm
  • Reread with dramatic hand gestures
  • Partner up with a super-stoked question asker and answerer
  • Play “crazy professor” and “eager student” in a hyped-up overview of the text.

9. Buddy Reading

Kids practice orally reading a text in preparation for reading to an assigned buddy in an earlier grade.

10. Timed Repeat Readings

This activity can aid fluency, according to literacy professors Katherine Hilden and Jennifer Jones (PDF, 271KB). After an instructor reads (with expression) a short text selection appropriate to students’ reading level (90-95 percent accuracy), learners read the passage silently, then again loudly, quickly, and dynamically. Another kid graphs the times and errors so that children can track their growth.

11. FORI

With Fluency-Oriented Reading Instruction (FORI), primary students read the same section of a text many times over the course of a week (PDF, 54KB). Here are the steps:

  1. The teacher reads aloud while students follow along in their books.
  2. Students echo read.
  3. Students choral read.
  4. Students partner read.
  5. The text is taken home if more practice is required, and extension activities can be integrated during the week.

I hope that the activities described above — in addition to other well-regarded strategies, like reciprocal teaching, reader’s theater, and radio reading — can serve as simple replacements to Round Robin Reading in your classroom.

Tell us your favorite fluency or comprehension activity.

Source: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/alternatives-to-round-robin-reading-todd-finley

Ten YA Series to Binge Read

Source: http://theyoungfolks.com/review/10-ya-series-to-binge-read/78884

Binge series

2016 seems to be the year for final books in series being released. It can be hard to keep track of so we’ve put together a compilation of some well-loved or highly-anticipated series that you should check out if you haven’t already. Not all of the finales have been released just yet, but this is a great time to start reading so you’re all caught up when the final book is in the world!

1. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys; The Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; The Raven King)

I somehow missed the boat when The Raven Boys first released in 2012, and suddenly the fourth and final book, The Raven King, has just been released. I just started reading book two in the series and I’m really enjoying them. Maggie is a natural storyteller and I’m excited to see where this exciting, paranormal series goes.


2. Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein (Becoming Jinn; Circle of Jinn)

Jinn series

This is another series I missed when the first book came out but now that the duology is complete, I’m looking forward to reading it. This is a fantasy spin on the wish-granting genies that exist in mythology. I loved Jessica Khoury’s Aladdin re-telling The Forbidden Wish and this seems like a natural choice to pick up next.

3. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass (The Selection; The Elite; The One; The Heir; The Crown)

In a sense, this could be considered two separate series. But as The Heir and The Crown are spin-offs of the original Selection trilogy, it’s truly the end of America, Maxon, and Eadlyn’s story. I’ve got the final book, The Crown, on my bookshelf and all I need are a few more hours to finish the series. If you haven’t checked out this dystopian version of The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games, what are you waiting for?

 

4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (The 5th Wave; The Infinite Sea; The Last Star – releasing 5/24/16)

fifth wave

If you’ve missed this series, it’s safe to say you might have been living under a rock for the past year. The post-apocalyptic series has aliens and a strong female lead character. The 5th Wave was even released as a movie starring Chloe Grace Moretz in January 2016. The third book in the trilogy comes out next week, so you’ve still got time to catch up before spoilers begin to show up on the Internet.

5. The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Curse; The Winner’s Crime; The Winner’s Kiss)

The final book in The Winner’s Trilogy recently released to extremely high anticipation. Marie Rutkoski’s series is probably one of the most hyped series that I still need to read. Now that it’s complete, it’s a great time to pick up the books and binge read them one after the other.

6. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (The Orphan Queen; The Mirror King)

This fantasy duology is now complete. Jodi Meadows tells a story of magic, spies, and royalty inThe Orphan Queen and The Mirror King. According to Goodreads, it’s “a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.” This is perfect if you’re looking for fantasy series that doesn’t require years of commitment!

The Naturals series

7. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Naturals; Killer Instinct; All In; Bad Blood – releasing 11/1/2016)

Jennifer Lynn Barnes is one of my all-time favorite writers. She has a skill for crafting mysteries/thrillers that have you on the edge of your seat and keep you guessing up to the very end.The Naturals series tells a story of teens with special talents that are put to use solving FBI cases. The most recent book, All In, revealed that things are not how they’ve seemed. Bad Blood is set up to be an intense, heart-pounding finale to a fantastic series.

8. Nil by Lynne Matson (Nil; Nil Unlocked; Nil on Fire – releasing 5/31/16)

“On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die.” If that doesn’t intrigue you, I’m not sure what will. It sounds like The Hunger Gamesmeets Lost meets Lord of the Flies. The third book in the Nil trilogy comes out in two weeks, so you’ve got plenty of time to read the first two books.

9. The Firebird Trilogy by Claudia Gray (A Thousand Pieces of You; Ten Thousand Skies Above You; A Million Worlds with You – releasing 11/1/16)

This is one of my most anticipated series finale’s this year. Claudia Gray has created an incredible world that spans different dimensions and characters that I love and want to protect. The mix of fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, and world-threatening stakes have me incredibly excited for A Million Worlds with You. If you haven’t read this series, why not?

six crooked

10. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows; Crooked Kingdom – releasing 9/27/16)

Heist stories are my favorite (need proof? Check out my obsession with Heist Society, anything else by Ally Carter, and now Six of Crows). In my opinion, Six of Crows was one of the most beautifully crafted stories of 2015. The cliffhanger-esque ending is brutal and I am absolutely dying for Crooked Kingdom to be released and sitting on my bookshelf. I am so ready for the ending of this duology, but I would also love to see more heist stories in Kaz’s world from Leigh Bardugo.

Binge series

2016 seems to be the year for final books in series being released. It can be hard to keep track of so we’ve put together a compilation of some well-loved or highly-anticipated series that you should check out if you haven’t already. Not all of the finales have been released just yet, but this is a great time to start reading so you’re all caught up when the final book is in the world!

1. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys; The Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; The Raven King)

I somehow missed the boat when The Raven Boys first released in 2012, and suddenly the fourth and final book, The Raven King, has just been released. I just started reading book two in the series and I’m really enjoying them. Maggie is a natural storyteller and I’m excited to see where this exciting, paranormal series goes.

Jinn series

2. Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein (Becoming Jinn; Circle of Jinn)

This is another series I missed when the first book came out but now that the duology is complete, I’m looking forward to reading it. This is a fantasy spin on the wish-granting genies that exist in mythology. I loved Jessica Khoury’s Aladdin re-telling The Forbidden Wish and this seems like a natural choice to pick up next.

3. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass (The Selection; The Elite; The One; The Heir; The Crown)

In a sense, this could be considered two separate series. But as The Heir and The Crown are spin-offs of the original Selection trilogy, it’s truly the end of America, Maxon, and Eadlyn’s story. I’ve got the final book, The Crown, on my bookshelf and all I need are a few more hours to finish the series. If you haven’t checked out this dystopian version of The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games, what are you waiting for?

fifth wave

4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (The 5th Wave; The Infinite Sea; The Last Star – releasing 5/24/16)

If you’ve missed this series, it’s safe to say you might have been living under a rock for the past year. The post-apocalyptic series has aliens and a strong female lead character. The 5th Wave was even released as a movie starring Chloe Grace Moretz in January 2016. The third book in the trilogy comes out next week, so you’ve still got time to catch up before spoilers begin to show up on the Internet.

5. The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Curse; The Winner’s Crime; The Winner’s Kiss)

The final book in The Winner’s Trilogy recently released to extremely high anticipation. Marie Rutkoski’s series is probably one of the most hyped series that I still need to read. Now that it’s complete, it’s a great time to pick up the books and binge read them one after the other.

6. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (The Orphan Queen; The Mirror King)

This fantasy duology is now complete. Jodi Meadows tells a story of magic, spies, and royalty inThe Orphan Queen and The Mirror King. According to Goodreads, it’s “a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.” This is perfect if you’re looking for fantasy series that doesn’t require years of commitment!

The Naturals series

7. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Naturals; Killer Instinct; All In; Bad Blood – releasing 11/1/2016)

Jennifer Lynn Barnes is one of my all-time favorite writers. She has a skill for crafting mysteries/thrillers that have you on the edge of your seat and keep you guessing up to the very end.The Naturals series tells a story of teens with special talents that are put to use solving FBI cases. The most recent book, All In, revealed that things are not how they’ve seemed. Bad Blood is set up to be an intense, heart-pounding finale to a fantastic series.

8. Nil by Lynne Matson (Nil; Nil Unlocked; Nil on Fire – releasing 5/31/16)

“On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die.” If that doesn’t intrigue you, I’m not sure what will. It sounds like The Hunger Gamesmeets Lost meets Lord of the Flies. The third book in the Nil trilogy comes out in two weeks, so you’ve got plenty of time to read the first two books.

9. The Firebird Trilogy by Claudia Gray (A Thousand Pieces of You; Ten Thousand Skies Above You; A Million Worlds with You – releasing 11/1/16)

This is one of my most anticipated series finale’s this year. Claudia Gray has created an incredible world that spans different dimensions and characters that I love and want to protect. The mix of fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, and world-threatening stakes have me incredibly excited for A Million Worlds with You. If you haven’t read this series, why not?

six crooked

10. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows; Crooked Kingdom – releasing 9/27/16)

Heist stories are my favorite (need proof? Check out my obsession with Heist Society, anything else by Ally Carter, and now Six of Crows). In my opinion, Six of Crows was one of the most beautifully crafted stories of 2015. The cliffhanger-esque ending is brutal and I am absolutely dying for Crooked Kingdom to be released and sitting on my bookshelf. I am so ready for the ending of this duology, but I would also love to see more heist stories in Kaz’s world from Leigh Bardugo.

Scholastic 2016 reading bingo

Setting reading goals for yourself and the children in your world is a fun way to open a world of possible each year. The reading challenge that I tried in 2015 pushed me to read more adult books and genres that I don’t hit that often. This year, OOMers’ reading resolutions cover our reading habits, genres, and methods, as well as how some of us will track our progress using checklists, spreadsheets, or websites.

We are making the challenge of achieving your reading goals even more fun in 2016 by turning it into a game –the Scholastic 2016 Reading Bingo!

How to play:

  1. Download the PDF for the Scholastic 2016 Reading Bingo board.
  2. Read a book.
  3. See which descriptions/squares the book matches.
  4. Write the name of the book in the square or, for a fun visual, print out a small image of the book’s cover and paste it in the box.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 several times.
  6. Once you fill in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally – yell “BINGO!” nice and loud.

If you really want to challenge yourself, read 49 unique books and complete the whole board!

I already got started with Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson’s 2016 Newbery medal winning picture book Last Stop on Market Street in the center square and Laura Resau’s middle grade novel The Lightning Queen in the top row.

We’d love to follow your progress if you want to share your reading bingos on social media; just use the hashtag #ScholasticReadingBingo !

Challenge your students and library patrons to play!

Happy reading.

Source: http://oomscholasticblog.com/post/scholastic-2016-reading-bingo