Thursday, March 27, 2014

'Got AIR?

When Nike launched their "Air" brand, the word became synonymous with 'height'   and achievement --thanks to Michael Jordan.  That had nothing to do with a reading program, but perhaps we can leverage the positive association in our Acountable Independent Reading (AIR) programs.   Another acronym has been added to our educational alphabet soup.  Our state has just recommended the use of an AIR, to help close the achievement gap. 

All over the web and on great Pinterest Boards you can find reading incentive programs intended to inspire kids to read.  (Such as this one:  Click here.)  However, the growing trend, or focus, is on reading incentive programs which include: student self-assessment; student self-selection; student self-motivation;  and independent accountability.  Students however, need a framework.  They need a skeleton.  They need a plan.  They need direction, perhaps.  They need a reason.  They need a goal and more.  We librarians know that all too well.    

As a vital link to closing the achievement gap, reading has always been front in center in the elementary years.  However, all the mandates of assessment dare we say, have pushed this vital skill off its pedestal and into the background.   Programs such as RIF or 1000 books club are still as vital as they were years ago.  If you are at the elementary level, insure that your district has implemented a connection to the community if possible.  Locally, our Barnes and Noble does a book drive every holiday season towards our local 1000 book clubs.  Last year our elementary libraries received over 3000 books for their clubs, courtesy of generous B & N customers.   Contact your local bookstore to inquire whether they would do this. 
Thanks to Saratoga B & N for their donations! 

Pictured below are students in a local rural district holding their new "Passports to Reading"  which we recently aligned with the shifts of the CCSS to increase reading of nonfiction, spotlight vocabulary, and find meaning.   Feel free to download and print this document if you are looking for a program for summer reading or for next year.   We printed over 5000 copies of these passports for our local elementary library programs.  Kids bring them to the library weekly.    Our 'passports' were tweaked from the Macy's sponsored reading program from NYC.  Attribution is given on the back cover of our modified version.   You may find the link to this PDF, for downloading  here:  Click. 

(Photo had all parents approval for posting...) 

We realize there are "electronic versions" of rating and accountability such as GoodReads, Opals and Follett "star rating" features, etc., but there is something kids find special and novel about holding this paper booklet.  It also requires no connection at home.  

So put on your thinking caps and plan a program for this summer or for next school year!  Use this to increase your visibility.   Brainstorm any great reading incentive program for your area.  Feel free to share links or ideas below!  Here's one I found yesterday:  "Iditeread"!   Click Here.  

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