Giving Reading Month a Twist

As a school librarian in a K-3 elementary, it is always a challenge to come up with new ways to raise excitement for reading. This year I decided to resurrect an idea that I haven’t used for a couple decades, but with a new twist. In the past, I have done a “March Madness” type battle of the books, but it has always been “classics” that I, sometimes wrongly assumed the students had all read. My school does “Book A Day” read-aloud as part of the expected procedure. It seems obvious to me that every teacher in a primary school would read aloud to students daily, but it has been particularly challenging to get some teachers to read the many beautiful new picture books that have come out in the past few years. The sixteen books in our March Madness are somewhat of a compromise because I wanted everyone to participate. I also wanted to include a variety of nonfiction picture books, to help everyone realize that picture books can be more than just stories. The third-grade students have already done building projects based on The World is Not a Rectangle by Jeanette Winter. Listen by Shannon Stoker was part of a unit on sound, but I still feel that most biography and nonfiction picture books are not used to their fullest potential in the classroom. The best way to remedy this is by exposure for both teachers and students. There were so many other books I would have liked to include, but I could only use sixteen. We will do a vote to narrow things down each week and come up with a winner at the end of March. What picture books am I missing that would stretch my students’ and teachers’ understanding of the world?

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