For the entire month of October, high schools in the Portland Public School District are celebrating Teen Read Month.’ This year’s celebration will involve an all high school Read-In. The idea is simple: students come to the library to curl up in a comfy chair with a good book and a yummy treat and get to focus solely on reading during class time.’ This program started with one school, Cleveland High, a few years ago.’ CHS teacher librarian Theresa Quinn, who got her idea for this library program from YALSA, has had such success that her secondary colleagues wanted to have their students get in on the fun too.
Coordinating an event across ten different schools is no easy feat.’ One librarian was in charge of sending out a press release and contacting the media so we could spread the Teen Read Week message “Read for the fun of it!”‘ Another helped create graphics so we could all use the same promotional materials. Each high school librarian determined the Read-In schedule for his or her own individual library and contacted local businesses for treats to serve participating teens.’ With Read-Ins taking place at a variety of times throughout the day (some libraries will close for the entire day while others will close for a few class periods), whenever a newspaper or television station wants to report on the event, they can.
If you would like to host an all-school Read-In for your library, here are some helpful tips to consider:
- Because there is limited space in the library (and to keep the fire marshals happy), you will need to decide how many students your library can comfortably accommodate.
- Have students register for the event. As students sign up, hand them a permission letter to get parent or guardian and classroom teacher permission to be excused from class for the period/s they will miss.
- Send students an approval notice to let them know they are officially registered for the Read-In; then send a reminder notice a day or two before the event so they know when to report to the library.
- Make sure everyone in your building is aware that a special event is taking place in the library that is only open to registered participants.
- Solicit parent and community volunteers in helping to both greet students at the door and check their permission form. Have permission forms in alphabetical order to speed up the check-in process.
- Let students know the event will start promptly at the first bell.
- Start the morning off with treats first and then have the students settle in to read for the fun of it.
- Students need to come prepared with a book to read.’ This will help students start in on their reading right away instead of searching the shelves for a new book and possibly distracting other students.
- Bookmarks are a great giveaway to provide to all participants and will remind them to read for the fun of it beyond Teen Read Week.
If you have hosted a Read-In at your school or if you plan to this year, share your experiences in the comments below or on the Teen Read Week wiki.
By: Paige Battle