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Media center magic

Waverly students with UNI wrestler

In their quest to become Media Center Warriors, students at Waverly-Shell Rock Middle School have been reading through the genres in a gamified reading program created by district teacher librarian and current School Library Studies student, Lyndsi Luck. The program features intrinsically motivating challenges for fifth and sixth graders to complete after reading a book.

For example, students reading in the genre of pop culture can earn 1,000 points by filming a personal attempt to break a world record. As part of a sports challenge, students earn points by contacting a sports professional and receiving a personal response. When Brody Kuhse (left) contacted UNI wrestler Bryce Steiert, Steiert offered to meet him in person. On April 19, Steiert (center) had lunch at school with Kuhse and his friend Jonah Nelson (right) and told them how he chooses reading over social media.

Luck presented her reading program at the Iowa Association of School Librarians (IASL) Conference on April 3 in a session entitled “Books + Gamification = Media Center Magic. For her, the most rewarding part of the program is how it keeps her students and their parents in touch with her. She also loves how students completing the fine arts challenge bring in a constant stream of brownies.


Boy reading book on the Beattles

Reading for pleasure--not points

Classroom teachers, principals and teacher librarians share a critical goal: to get students hooked on reading. Teacher librarian Nicole Guldager has found that students in highly restrictive reading programs based on extrinsic motivation, such as Accelerated Reader, do not develop an interest in reading. As described in a recent Teacher Librarian article co-authored by Guldager, Dr. Karla Krueger and Dr. Joan Bessman Taylor, computerized supplemental reading programs may actually decrease reading motivation, particularly when students are only allowed to read books that match their program-assigned reading level. Read more.



Rachel BurrowOut and about

Sometimes it can be hard to find teacher librarian Rachel Burrow in the library. She is often in classrooms giving book talks, helping students create videos, and collaborating on research projects such as an eighth grade one-to-one project on the Star Spangled Banner. Her collaboration begins by going to Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings with classroom teachers and offering to help with their curriculum. Social studies teacher Lynda Downs takes her up on this offer at least once a month. Read more.




Jess ElliottWhat should I read?

As a middle school language arts teacher, Jessica Elliott noticed her students were increasingly more likely to look to their devices rather than to her for book suggestions. While researching students’ book selection preferences, however, she discovered that teacher and peer recommendations still matter. Elliott concluded, “Both male and female students strongly prefer selecting materials based on recommendations, just in more passive ways, such as book displays, posters, and bulletin board displays.” Read more.



Conner's Big Hunt CoverHunting for books

Leann Seddon, the teacher librarian for the Albia Community School District in Iowa, noticed that a lot of her students were interested in hunting, but the district’s libraries did not have many books that involved the subject. When she discovered that there were no comprehensive lists of hunting books that included the way the book portrayed hunting, she decided to create a bibliography as part of her master’s research paper. Seddon’s complete master’s research paper and bibliography, “101 Books for youth that feature hunters & hunting” is available on Seddon’s website. Read more.

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