The Impact of Passive Programming on High School Learners

You might be curious about what passive programming entails. Essentially, it involves providing opportunities for learners to interact with the library, explore literacy, and connect with each other without the constraints of structured events. It’s the enchantment that brings to life captivating book displays, inspiring bulletin boards, and captivating puzzles you’ve likely noticed throughout most libraries.

Most importantly of all, passive programming is a secret weapon for promoting literacy among our learners. When we curate enticing book displays featuring the latest young adult bestsellers or thought-provoking classics, we’re subtly encouraging learners to explore new worlds and discover the joy of reading. But passive programming isn’t just about books; it’s also a tool for fostering social interaction. The library is more than just a place to read quietly; it’s a space for learners to connect with one another. Interactive bulletin boards, for example, invite them to share their thoughts, opinions, and creativity. Whether they’re posting book recommendations or participating in a literary debate, passive programming turns the library into a vibrant hub of ideas and conversations.

High school can be a stressful time for many learners, with academic pressures and personal challenges. That’s where passive programming comes in as a breath of fresh air. Craft projects, art installations, and DIY activities can spark creativity and provide a much-needed break from the daily grind. Who knew making book-inspired crafts could be so therapeutic and exactly what our teens need? Here’s the kicker: passive programming is more than just fun and games (although it’s certainly that too!). It’s also a powerful tool for building lifelong skills. As learners engage with themed book displays or take part in reading challenges, they’re developing critical thinking, research, and time management skills that will serve them well beyond high school.

The incredible benefits of passive programming in the high school library is about promoting literacy, fostering social interaction, igniting creativity, and building lifelong skills—all while making our school library a warm and inviting space for every learner. As we continue to curate exciting passive programming experiences for our high school learners, we’re not just enriching their lives today but also nurturing the readers, thinkers, and leaders of tomorrow.

A few of my favorite passive programming activities are: 

  • Reading nooks: Create cozy reading nooks with comfortable seating, blankets, and pillows. Feature a “Book of the Month” in each nook to entice learners to pick up a new read.
  • Mystery Book Wraps: Wrap books in plain paper with intriguing clues written on the cover, leaving the title and author a mystery. learners can choose a book based on the clues and unwrap it to reveal their next read.
  • Book Reviews and Recommendations: Encourage learners to write book reviews or recommendations and display them prominently in the school library. You can also feature a “Librarian’s Picks” section with your personal recommendations.
  • Book Club Kits: Prepare book club kits with multiple copies of a selected book, discussion questions, and reading guides. Learners can check out these kits and form their own book clubs.
  • Bookplate Stamping:  Learners can design and stamp their own bookplates to personalize their books and make them unique. You can have the instructions and materials set up in the library to allow learners to complete the task 
  • Book Spine Poetry: Challenge learners to create poetry or short stories using the titles of books, arranging book spines to form lines of a poem. You can do this with actual books or have pictures of book spines so learners can make a collage of book spine poetry. 
  • Book-Inspired Origami:Set up a station where learners can learn to fold origami inspired by characters, objects, or themes from books.

Author: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Jessica Fitzpatrick is a high school librarian in Houston and is in her tenth year of education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Houston and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas. She is a 2022 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, 2022 TLA MVP, an AASL Inspire Special Event Grant recipient, 2022 YALSA’s MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, the 2022 TLA Branding Award Winner for Reading Program, the 2020 TLA Branding Award Winner for Community Engagement, YALS article contributor, and on the TAYSHAS Reading Committee. She enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her two daughters and husband. You can follow her on Instagram at @librarian_fitz and on Twitter at @librarianfitz .

Categories: Literacy, Makerspaces/Learning Commons

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