May is such a busy month for educators across the country. School librarians are in the midst of taking the end-of-the-year inventory, assisting with testing, and preparing end-of-the year reports for administrators. So many tasks are on our plates. While we look forward to a little rest and relaxation, why not deepen the culture of reading at your school by planning a summer book club for your staff.
As I write this blog post, it is my last day of spring break. While I prepare to be back to school next week, one of my items on my to-do list is planning our final drop-in PD of the school year. This month, my colleague Katherine Leatherman and I are planning a book tasting to kick-off a summer book club for our teachers.
Facilitating a Staff Book Club
This session of professional development for the teachers has a few moving parts. (See the outline listed below.) The first component of the session is a brief Google Forms survey for our teachers to gather feedback on what they might like to read this summer. Do they want a fiction read or a non-fiction professional read that will impact their instruction during the next school year? Katherine and I have a few books in mind, such as Kimmery Martin’s Queen of Hearts for a fiction suggestion or Daniel Pink’s Drive for the non-fiction text. Ultimately, we want their input so that this summer book club is tailored to what they want to read. Teacher buy-in is a must for this to be successful.
So, here is an outline of our summer book club plan:
- Survey the staff
- Create our book tasting menu based on survey results and the two selections we suggested.
- Conduct a drop-in PD/book tasting in early May.
- Showcase Verso, Twitter, and Google Classroom as options for the digital platform we will use to discuss the book over our summer vacation. Decide on a favorite platform for our staff book club.
- Read the book during June and July and schedule weekly chats following a chapter schedule for the group.
- Plan a final face-to-face book club meeting to discuss the book and gather input on the experience at a fun location for the participants to meet (optional).
- Gather feedback on the digital platform and discuss applications for our students based on the platform of choice.
- Consider extending the book club with a new read for the school year.
Fostering a Culture of Reading
One of the goals for our staff has been to foster a culture of reading at Highland School of Technology. We do this in many ways. Some examples are our student book club, a Battle of the Books team, a Little Free Library on campus, library programming and signage promoting what the staff members are reading.
Additionally, social media posts from the library about our reading programs or posts from students use the hashtag HSTreads. My hope as the school librarian is to show our students that reading matters and that our teachers and staff members find it important to read. The signage hanging around the school certainly promotes the importance of lifelong reading and learning.
Celebrating the End of the Year with Our Final Drop-In PD
For our final professional development session of the year, Katherine and I hope to model a book tasting and promote a great book for the staff to read. Ultimately, we want to support a culture of reading. When we are back to school, one of the library displays will highlight the staff book club, promote any new reads, and advertise our student book club, too.
So, cheers to the upcoming summer and may you find a wonderful book or two or ten to read and enjoy over the lazy days of summer. If you ever want to collaborate or share in a book read with us, reach out to me or Katherine. We love to connect and collaborate across the miles. My website is https://www.gaston.k12.nc.us/domain/3044. Katherine’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my contact information is listed below.
Author: Laura Long
Laura Long is the school library media specialist at Highland School of Technology in Gastonia, NC, a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her Masters of Library Science from East Carolina University. She is a Gaston County Schools’ Delta Fellow, Pinnacle Technology Leader and member of the Pioneering Educators Team, as well as a National Board certified language arts teacher. Additionally, she is the President of the North Carolina School Library Media Association. She loves collaborating and helping her students connect with others around the world, so feel free to contact her via email or social media.