Providing reading materials for classrooms and students is a mainstay for school libraries. There are many strategies available to school librarians to boost reading throughout their schools, which in turn increases circulation – always a good thing for the school library program. The impact of school libraries and school librarians on reading and literacy in schools is well documented and has been shown to be a predictor of success.
The role of school librarians in reading varies by school level. One role that permeates all levels is that of creating readers. Not every student is automatically comfortable in their role as a reader. School libraries are an important place where many students first discover their love for reading.
What are some strategies to promote the love of reading in your school? There are many ways to build a culture of reading using the school library. Reading programs based in the school library are one way to promote reading throughout your school. In addition to reading programs, school libraries promote reading through advocacy, special events, and visual displays. Visual displays include inventive book displays, bulletin boards, and engaging websites. Special events can include celebrations, author visits (in-person or virtual), contests, engaging with national/ state book award programs, and more. Reading promotion for middle and high school libraries will usually look a little different but can still be highly engaging.
When students are in the library there are many strategies you can use to engage them in reading. Collaborating with teachers in your school is one way to not only bring students into the library, but also to promote use of the library to teachers. Booktalks are a wonderful way to encourage students to read and share the books they love with others. If booktalks are not something that you are able to do, there are other ways to achieve the same objective. Book speed dating and blind date with a book are fun ways to engage students with books that they might not otherwise seek out. Book trailers and book reviews are great ways for students to share books they love. Engage your students in online book communities like Bookopolis, Biblionasium, Dogobooks, SpaghettiBookClub, BookClubforKids, and GoodReads to track their reading, post book reviews, and get reading recommendations. Another great tool in a school librarian’s toolbox for boosting reading engagement in the school library is engaging with students from specific communities in school, including diverse communities, struggling readers, and distance learners. During this time when many students are remote or taking part in distance learning for all or part of their time in school, strategies for supporting them are very important. Promoting Ebooks and audiobooks, use of technology, and use of inventive and basic strategies are all effective.
Reading engagement is at the heart of every school library. Choose those strategies that will work best for your school community! For more ideas, don’t forget to check out the TeachersFirst resources and blog posts.