Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reading Wildly Into the New Year

If you're regular reader of this blog, you may be familiar with the Reading Wildly program I run with my staff. Each month, my staff members are asked to read at least one book in our chosen genre and then we meet to booktalk these books to each other and talk about the genre. This program has really helped motivate my staff to start reading books from the Children's Room and to read widely outside the typical genres we may gravitate to. Everyone is reading more, practicing booktalks, finding readalikes, and becoming more confident in their readers' advisory skills.

As we've continued the program, I've tweaked it from what we started with. I lifted the requirement to add our books to the department Goodreads account because that was not a tool that was helpful to my staff in their readers' advisory transactions. I'm glad to have exposed them to it and some of my staff members continue to use it to keep a personal record of their reading, but if it's not a tool they're going to use at work, I didn't want to create busywork for them.

In October, I introduced some professional articles as required reading for everyone and this is something I will continue. Having articles to discuss gets the conversation rolling and reading one or two short articles does not add drastically to staff workload.

As we approached the end of 2013, I asked my staff if they would like to continue doing our Reading Wildly meetings or do something different. I had overwhelming support for continuing our current program, so we sat down and talked about what genres we'd like to explore or revisit in 2014. The first year, I assigned all the genres, but now I wanted staff to take some ownership, so we all brainstormed and decided together.

This will be our schedule of genres for 2014:

January: Readers' Choice (I know that finding time to read over the holidays may be difficult!)
February: Realistic Fiction
March: Books in a popular series
April: Sports
May: Multicultural
June: Readers' Choice (summer!!!!)
July: Readers' Choice (summer!!!!!)
August: Graphic novels (this is something they can choose to read for other genres, but since many of them shy away from this format, we elected to make it a monthly genre)
September: Animal Fantasy (chapter books with animals as main characters)
October: Fantasy
November: Historical Fiction
December: Nonfiction

Please feel free to read along with us or use any of the information I've shared to create your own staff reading program. It's truly done wonders for my staff and it's been a lot of fun, too! If you have any questions about our program or any suggestions from running your own program, I'd love to hear them!