CALLING ALL BLOGGERS
NCSLMA has a small blog on our website. If you would like to contribute to it, please send submissions to email@example.com. We're looking for news items, stories about your library, fun events you have had, etc. Pictures can be included and are welcomed. There are no minimum or maximum length requirements. Share some of the great things going on in your library!
5th Annual Summer Learning Series!!
Our 5th Annual Summer Learning Series is coming up! Save the date for our amazing, informative, one-hour sessions in July and August! NCSLMA has a brand new way to kick off a school year...Librarian Boot Camp! Whether you're a brand new librarian, need a refresher, or want to energize yourself for the 2023-2024 school year, you'll love Librarian Boot Camp! Summer Learning Series and Librarian Boot Camp are all virtual, so stay cozy in your jammies, grab your favorite brew, and learn from home! We look forward to rounding out your summer with you!
NC Member Spotlights
Highlighting the hard work of our North Carolina librarians.
Breaking the Stigma that Reading is Boring with Humor-Filled Novel Studies
by Kayla E. Green
Breaking the Stigma that Reading is Boring with Humor-Filled Novel Studies; Reaching Reluctant Readers with Books Like Matilda and Season of Dragons
Kayla E. Green, Media Coordinator,
South Creek Elementary School, Robersonville, NC
During my second year in the classroom, I announced to my sixth graders that we were going to do a novel study. Most students stared at me blankly while some audibly groaned, “Why?” One student blurted, “Reading is boring!”
But after we spent our first class reading Matilda by Roald Dahl, they all–even Mr. Reading-is-boring–were hooked. Like laughing out loud at Matilda’s shenanigans, gasping at twists, and exclaiming they didn’t want to wait for the next chapter hooked.
At the end of the two-week study, my students completed a written survey reflection. Every student, out of the 123 I taught between four blocks, rated the book at least four stars, and a huge consensus was that the book was good because it was funny while also reminding them that they aren’t alone.
Both reading through student reflections and overhearing excited conversations between formerly reluctant readers inspired me to pursue a career as a school librarian. A handful of years have passed since first using Matilda to try to connect with my readers through literacy, and I have recently completed my first year working as an elementary school media coordinator.
Throughout this past year, I have repeatedly recommended Roald Dahl’s work as my students love books with humor like Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid. But due to my limited time with my elementary students, I’ve struggled to find a way to engage some of my more reluctant readers. I’ve asked myself repeatedly, how can I make a novel study work when I see my upper-elementary groups one time a week?
While I was processing this internally, I won a giveaway and received a copy of Season of Dragon by Nikki Mitchell. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop! I read it one afternoon, and while reading I felt reminded of Dahl’s character Matilda Wormwood. Like Matilda, Mitchell’s protagonist Ichabod is a sympathetic character who, through determination and gusto, makes a difference. He is a relatable young man who inspires readers to do what is right, never fear adventure, and to remember to call their grandma (IFYKYK).
The book made me giggle while simultaneously warming my heart. It is a quick read at a little over 100 pages, and its pace is definitely good for young readers who often grow bored when bogged down with too much unnecessary information thrown at them. I knew even before I turned the last page this is a book I wanted to bring into my school’s library specifically for my reluctant readers.
But, after much brainstorming and planning, I’m going to be doing more than adding it to our shelves. Next year, I will be working with a small group of fourth grade students during our enrichment/intervention time. Mitchell, the author, includes a list of discussion questions for teachers at the end of Season of Dragons which anyone can use, and I will be including in my activities with my student group. Further, the book itself lends itself to discussing various topics including, but not limited to, character development, elements of plot, theme, types of conflict, point of view, context clues, and inferencing. The vivid fantasy world Mitchell creates lends itself to endless creativity when it comes to designing writing prompts and multimedia presentations for students as well…And Mitchell has a recipe for jam students can recreate (I’m so hoping to do this for a science/math tie-in!)
In summary, Season of Dragons by Nikki Mitchell is a fast-paced middle grade book with echoes of whimsy found in the films of Studio Ghibli. That along with its balance of humor and important themes in the vein of author Roald Dahl, Season of Dragons is a fantastic book for young readers. This is such a great book, I need others to know about it. With books like Matilda and Season of Dragons, we can reach young scholars who are reluctant to read. I firmly believe that anyone who dislikes reading just hasn’t found the right book!
I hope you not only read Season of Dragons, but I encourage you to add it to your library shelves and use it, and other books with lots of humor balanced with meaning, in novel studies to engage reluctant readers. Novel studies can be modified and used in collaboration with classroom teachers–take your ideas out to the halls and see what you and your team can come up with to promote literacy and get students excited about books!
Do you have a book you love to recommend to students? Do you want to brainstorm novel study possibilities? Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find book reviews I have written through my Goodreads.
Summary of Season of Dragons:
Ichabod is the forgotten child in his family. He doesn’t get along with his siblings, and his mother threw out his precious shoebox of treasures. Without his shoebox of treasures, how will pass his science presentation at school? Ichabod is in luck—he happens to find a dragon egg at the bus stop. But when he goes to grab the egg from his backpack to share with his class he is transported to a different realm!
He finds himself in the village Hasir. The weather is going haywire because the Season Dragons fight among themselves in their cave across the water. The grown-ups discuss what to do, but they have no solutions. An unlikely friend, Ingrid, helps Ichabod in his quest to talk to the Season Dragons after the grown-ups mock his idea. Though he loves exploring, Ichabod faces a new type of adventure. One with a manipulative Mist, self-centered dragons, and wacky weather. In order to help restore the seasons for the people of Hasir, Ichabod must find the grandmother of the Season Dragons for help. And on this crusade to fix the weather and return the dragon egg, Ichabod learns a thing or two about finding family and being your authentic self.
The NCCBA Committee is proud to announce the 2023 winners! Children throughout North Carolina voted and the results are in! The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder wins in the Picture Book category and Unplugged by Gordon Korman wins in the Junior Book category. For more information and to see the voting results, go to http://nccba.blogspot.com/. Thanks to all the media coordinators who shared the nominated books with their students this year!
Watch for an announcement of the 2024 nominated titles this summer!
CONTRIBUTE TO THE NEXT NEWS & NOTES
Would you like to contribute to the next NCSLMA News & Notes?
We want to hear from you! Do you have an upcoming multi-school or district event, were you recognized in some way, are you involved in the coolest collaboration, or did you contribute in some other spectacular way that shows the value of school libraries and librarians? We know you did! So we want to share the fabulous things school librarians are doing across the state! Please submit links to articles, published materials, and/or graphics to Kenisha Smith (email@example.com). Materials should be "copy and paste" ready. Submissions will be edited and published at the discretion of the NCSLMA News & Updates Editorial Team.
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