Collaboration – Building Literacy

A major part of my job is to build a culture of reading and literacy. It is important that I select books for our library that represent our students, their lives, and their struggles. The best way to get a student to read is by them seeing themselves in a book. I send out a survey at the beginning and end of the year asking students what genre, titles, authors, etc. of books they want me to purchase to make sure I have what the students want to read. I also take pride in reading at least 100 Young Adult novels every year.

The Westland High School library fiction books have been cataloged and shelved by genre to help our students better find books. If there is a non-fiction book that reads like narrative fiction, I will catalog and shelf it within that genre of the fiction section.

Daily, I make myself available to students who come to the library looking to check out a book.

Weekly, each Friday I post First Page Friday to the library Instagram account which has a photo of the cover and first page of a book and in the comments I put the summary of the book. I also do weekly book talks during Thursday SSR time for the English classes. Each time I finish a book, I either film myself doing a 60 second book talk for Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube or I create a book trailer for the book and post it to YouTube.

Monthly, we have a competition in the library called Book in a Jar, in which shredded pages of a book go into a jar and students have to guess what book it is. We also feature a Book of the Month every month and put it on display along with its summary. Twice a month, in the student bathrooms a flyer called Potty Mouth is posted which has a couple of books advertised along with library happenings. Twice a month, in the staff bathrooms, Learning in the Loo is posted which contains an advertisement for a book and a technology tip.

I am also the adviser for our Battle of the Books team and adviser of our student Book Club.

Twice a year, I run a special event in the library for all the English teachers and their students. Last year we did Speed Dating with Books, and this year we did Book Tasting and Musical Chairs with Books.

Each fall, I invite students to the library for a lesson during Banned Books Week about intellectual freedom and their right to read.

I have also developed two literacy Google Classroom areas. One is for all the audio books we have for easy access to all students. The other Classroom hosts reading challenges, what to read next suggestions, new book slideshows, and other book promotions.

April is National Poetry Month and we celebrate the month in the library by making poetry stations available to all students: black out poetry, found poetry, paint swatch poetry, book spine poetry, push pin poetry, and more! Each time a student creates a poem, they receive an entry for a raffle basket of goodies.