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The Tibrarian's Corner | Fabulous Fridays: Read Across America
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I have recently come to the realization that I may be a pretty good Tibrarian, but I am a terrible blogger!  I have vowed to do better, however, so this is the inaugural post for my new series Fabulous Fridays.  I work at a small school, so the county only allots enough in the budget for a 0.6 librarian position.  This means that I go in a little later and leave a little earlier each day and have Fridays off.  I would happily forgo my Friday free-days if it meant that my library could be open full-time, but I am now going to try to make use of this time to pass on some great information to my fellow Tibrarians.

This week in my library…

Last week we only went to school for 1 day (and there was a 2-hr. delay!) because of snowy and cold conditions here in Virginia.  This week, everyone was excited to get back to the business of teaching children.  I was especially excited because it was reading incentive week!  I try to do several small reading incentives throughout the year, but I usually only do one school-wide incentive.  This year, I am using the Read Across America theme.  This is an incentive that I thought up a few years ago when I worked at a different school, so now I am recycling it!  I thought it would be the perfect contest to start during this coming week’s celebration of Dr. Seuss, Read Across America week.

I give lots of details and tips about this incentive on pages 115-116 of The Tibrarian Handbook.  Basically, I divide the school into teams (I am using 4, as my school has less than 300 students) and pit the teams against each other in head-to-head competitions.  Students have a log on which they will record the number of minutes they read each night.  They will turn in their logs two times per week for the duration of the contest and each “turn in” will represent a head-to-head competition.  The team that reads the most minutes wins each competition.

I am not at school when the morning news show is taped, but I wanted a way to introduce the competition to the whole school at once.  I decided to create a video to be played on the news show so that I could get kids excited about the competition without having to take up precious time during library class to give my pitch (and without having to say the same thing 12 times!).  I filmed myself using an iPad and then did a bit of editing using iMovie.  Here is the video that I created:

I am trying everything possible to market this contest this year.  I created a detailed website where students can get all of the latest contest standings, print new forms if they lose their logs, and find out about the different locations that teams are “visiting” along our imaginary journey.  I have also asked my principal to send out a link to this webpage in our weekly school email and I wrote an article about the incentive for our monthly newsletter.  With this sort of contest, the more buzz there is in the school community, the better participation will be.

I will be keeping track of all of the data for my incentive using an Excel spreadsheet.  I find that this is a pretty easy way to get accurate results and to quickly find out some statistics about my incentive.  For example, I put in equations to let me know what percentage of the school is participating so that I can see if the incentive is a success.

We will see how it goes, Tibrarians.  The incentive is starting a day late due to an unexpected snow storm Thursday morning, but I hope that is the only glitch.  I will let you know how it is going next week!

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