The big library news in the state of Vermont is about books, of course! All school year long, students have been listening to and reading our kids’ choice nominees. Not only have they been absorbing well written literature, they have also been creating new content of their own inspired by a wide range of stories.
CCS Students in grades K-4 chose The World’s Greatest Lion by Ralph Helfer; illustrated by Ted Lewin as their pick to win the Red Clover Book Award. Thousands of other students across the state of Vermont agreed with them! The Red Clover Award exposes students in these grades each year to 10 quality picture books. The beauty of the program is that each student has a voice. This year, 2nd grade teachers and I worked together to incorporate that power of voice into students’ writing, using the Red Clover books as a springboard.
Students wrote persuasive pieces nominating the book they thought should win the award. They shared their writing on their classroom blogs, and got lots of authentic practice in keyboarding, navigating a digital platform, editing, and sharing effective comments with each other. We were then able to add other layers to their classroom KidBlog posts, including book talks created during library times! Here are a couple of examples of book talks created using the StoryKit app:
Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins & G. Brian Karas
Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Steven Salerno
The World’s Greatest Lion by Ralph Helfer; illustrated by Ted Lewin
Students in grades 4-8 voted for their favorite Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award book, also! Each year, students choose their favorites from among 30 amazing nominees. The thing I love the most about the DCF books is that they provide my students with an opportunity to try something new, and to perhaps walk in someone else’s shoes for a bit. They can explore different times and a variety of life experiences through the eyes of the characters.
CCS students varied slightly from the majority of children their age from across the state. Our school favorite for the award was The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. The state-wide winner, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, came in a very close second. Only one vote separated the two. It was a tough choice, but the important thing for me is that there is even a choice to be had for my students. I think it is a powerful thing for them to know that they have a voice, and it matters.
We are now preparing for our annual DCF celebration next week. Students get the opportunity to come together, chat about the books, and get a sneak peek at next years’ list!