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Raising Readers

Raising Readers

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Raising Readers

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  1. Raising Readers A Service Learning Model MLA 2010 Lisa Stuart and Judy Lander

  2. Introduction Both schools and libraries have been hit hard by budget cuts. And yet the needs of the kids we serve continue to grow. While we know that our impact in these kids’ lives can be greater when we work together, the efforts to stay connected and form partnerships are often the first to go when we’re strapped for time.

  3. This afternoon we’ll present a successful partnership involving one teacher and one librarian over the course of one school year. We hope that in so doing we will be able to inspire you to form lasting partnerships that will create a more meaningful experience for the young folks that you serve.

  4. The Partners Judy Lander is a first-grade teacher at Wenonah Elementary School (aka Lake Nokomis Community School, lower campus). She has been involved in service learning projects through Minneapolis Public Schools with her students for many years. Lisa Stuart is the librarian at Roosevelt Library in Hennepin County Library. Roosevelt was the new closest library to Wenonah in 2009, when Nokomis Library closed for renovation.

  5. Raising Readers Project at WenonahSchool Year 2009-2010 Students learned about the history of libraries in the U.S. and compared modern public libraries with schools’ media centers. The class hosted a visit from an author and a children’s book editor that strengthened the students’ understanding of how books come to be. They went on field trips to Wild Rumpus Bookstore and the Center for Book Arts.

  6. Taking it to Roosevelt Students came to Roosevelt Library once a month.

  7. Each visit started with a story time with Lisa.

  8. On the first visit the students went on a scavenger hunt to learn the set-up of Roosevelt.

  9. Then they labeled the library sections.

  10. At each subsequent visit, they did various service learning tasks for Roosevelt.

  11. Each visit also included time to sit and read and browse.

  12. Creating Inspiration Room 105 created inspiration for a love of books and learning by creating literacy-based gifts for the younger visitors of Roosevelt Library. They made bookmarks, Clifford and Cat in the Hat hats, and board books for the kids who came to Saturday story times. They also decorated bulletin boards and wrote reviews and made displays of books they recommended.

  13. The Three Whys Why for the First-Graders Our goal with school visits is that the students feel at home and familiarized with the library. With service learning projects, the goal is deeper: that students will feel that the library is theirs– a sense of connection and collaboration with the library.

  14. Feeling At Home in the World of Books Connection through service is especially effective with students who do not feel at home in the world of books– it allows them another way to make the place theirs. Room 105 had a lot of these students. Kinesthetic learners Children with Autism (7 out of 24 kids in Ms. Lander’s class) First Generation Library Users (one third of the class were Latino, most first-generation in the U.S., coming from countries without comparable public library systems.)

  15. Why for the Preschoolers Is there any better hero for a preschooler than a first-grader??? The students served as mentors for the younger kids, giving gifts inspired by favorite stories. Younger kids witness the big-kid influence in the library: their art on the bulletin board, their lettering on the labels, their displays. This reinforces that the library is a place for learning and that there’s room for every learner.

  16. Why for the Library Getting things done we don’t have time for anymore Example: washing toys and cushions– it used to be we had volunteers who could do this; these days even our volunteers are too busy for these jobs! This is a secondary goal, but still significant. (figuring out what you need done and who can do it is a major factor for success with service learning)

  17. The Teacher Speaks Results Increased enthusiasm for and progress in both reading and writing among students. Students gained more in-depth understanding of public libraries vs. media centers, and how books are made and created. Secondary skills were enhanced– math skills in figuring out the bus schedules, mapping skills in getting to the library and using the map of Roosevelt Library in the scavenger hunt

  18. Students as Recorders Students enhanced their technology and narrative skills in using various technologies to record their experiences: KBEM radio spots Book reviews on youtube Kids took pictures and videos of classmates They interviewed the librarian and the media specialist and analyzed the results.

  19. The Librarian Speaks Choosing a balance of both meaningful tasks for the students and tasks that really need doing is a major factor for success. As children’s areas have become play spaces, there is a greater need for toys to be cleaned As our jobs change, there is less time available for bulletin boards and other displays

  20. Jobs for Young Volunteers Creative Input Required Making Displays (librarian says: “Here are all the books on animals– pick out the most interesting ones and display them here.”) Writing reviews and displaying books with reviews with a sign: “Recommendations from the First-Graders in Room 105” Making hats, board books, etc, that connect to children’s literature

  21. Decorating the bulletin board (with children’s literature themes; examples: “Make a Splash” theme at the end of school year; “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”) Labeling the library – in English and in Spanish (or other representative languages)

  22. Critical Jobs for the Running of the Library Washing toys and cushions Sorting and neatening kids’ magazines Sorting audio book kits (cassettes vs. CD’s, NF vs. fiction, etc.) Any kids’ area “rough sort” shelving: board books, paperbacks in bins, DVD’s Fill cups by computers w/ pencils and paper

  23. Tips for Choosing Tasks Plan jobs that you really need done (ie, don’t create jobs so that kids will have something to do) Assign a balance between creative and critical Explaining the critical, more menial jobs can help give them meaning (“We’re washing the toys so they’ll be clean so little kids can play with them. The library knows that kids learn by playing, so they want to have toys at the library.”)

  24. Impacts for the Library Library Ambassadors: the students rally around the cause of the public library, encouraging peers and parents to become involved. Press is Good! Partnerships with schools make great news. Our neighborhood paper, KBEM radio, the Roosevelt Library website, and HCL’s youtube site, along with the school’s website, all had spots on the project.

  25. Impacts, Con’t And On Into Summer: Most of the students came back to Roosevelt Library in the summer; one third of the families in our Parent-Child Book Club were from Room 105! Extra Excitement for Story Time: young kids would anticipate story time all week (“what will we get from the big kids this time??”)

  26. The Final Impact Creating a Culture of Connection Beyond Early Literacy to Emergent Literacy Younger kids learn to write and what do they do? Make their own labels for the library! Emergent writing becomes a way to form– and show– a sense of ownership. It says “this is kids’ space, where you can show off your learning whatever stage you’re at.” Allowing kids a way to write and show off their writing, and that their writing has a function, increases the bond and the message of the library as a lifelong learning place.

  27. Tips for Success Work Within Your Limits (for both partners) Keep an Open Mind– successful partnerships depend upon creative individuals who allow current circumstances to guide their plans Have enough adults on hand during service learning visits (one per 6-7 kids is great) Integrating the theme at school: ex: words of the week (bibliophile, verso and recto)