The month of October always brings scary and spooky reading challenges. My high school library is still closed for students, so I had to get creative on how to share and motivate my students to read this year. Creating a virtual library display and reading challenge was a fun and easy way to share.
Fall weather and Halloween have always inspired me to do a reading challenge for the month of October. In the past these challenges always revolved around what was popular at the time, the theme of horror, or just fall in general. Most years this looked like a choice board, but this year I wanted to try something new. The reading challenge that I created was inspired by Netflix’s thriller series “Stranger Things.” I had the idea to pair a book from the normal horror reading list with it’s complete opposite. Similar to the idea of “Stranger Things” normal reality and the upside-down dimension.
Creating the Challenge
To create this challenge I started with my normal Bitmoji library. Shout-out to the post “Promoting Books with Bitmoji Libraries” by Brandi Hartsell for the inspiration to make mine! With the base of the library completed already, I wanted to set the stage a little more. I added some fall and Halloween-themed things to my room to add flair. The best advice I found when creating my Bitmoji library was to search “transparent image” after every item for the room I needed. For example, “bookshelf transparent image” gave me such better results then just searching “bookshelf.”
After I creeped out the Bitmoji library I started making book pairs for the reading list. I wanted the books to be my top circulations in the fall and also include something for everyone. Once I picked which horror books I would use it was fun and easy to find the exact opposite book somewhere in my collection. I added each pair of books next to the other on my virtual library bookshelf. I also linked each cover to Goodreads if students wanted more information about each book.
To record student responses and collect some data on student interest I created a Google Form for students to fill out. I attached the link to the form on my reading challenge as a direct place for students to access. Any student who completes the challenge I will e-mail at the end of the month and they will get to pick a spooky bookmark and a book of their choice from Amazon.
Promoting a love of reading is at the forefront of all our positions no matter the grade level we serve. I’m always looking for new and different ways to spark interest in reading for my students. All my teen librarians out there know how hard it is to get participation even at the coolest library events. Hopefully this idea sparks something creative for you this October or in reading challenges to come throughout the year. Experiment with opposites and create a Stranger Library challenge this season!
Author: Elizabeth Pelayo
Elizabeth Pelayo is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal. She is a member of the AASL AAUP Book Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the nominations committee for the ISLMA Abraham Lincoln Book Award.