Week 14: Preparing for Reading Festival!

Last Friday, we welcomed ten International School (Teacher-)Librarians from all over Sweden to ISGR. We visited our two libraries (Guldheden and Götaberg campus), as well as the public library. We shared our best practices, asked each other burning questions and everyone left with new ideas and useful information!

General Library News

The additional Storytime Hub trial accounts we had received, disappeared within 15 minutes! If you have not received a message from me, it means that there were no more accounts to be given out. I have saved all of your account requests, though, in case we receive additional trial accounts. Thank you for your interest!

Before we jump into the Reading Festival information, please mark your calendar for “free books” on Friday, April 8th (14.30 – 15.00). Students are welcome to our school library this Friday afternoon to choose books from our withdrawn books. As you know, we add new books to our library collection constantly. We withdraw (slightly) damaged books, or outdated ones. They are still very readable, and we don’t want to just toss them in the recycling bin. So all students are welcome to browse these withdrawn books and choose whatever they like, to take home and keep forever. Happy Re-reading!

The Saturday (23/4) before the Reading Festival, it is the UNESCO World Book Day on which you are challenged “to explore new topics, formats, or genres that out of your ordinary. Our goal is to engage people in reading, and to have fun doing so!” A perfect kick-start to get in the mood for ISGR’s annual Reading Festival!

Now, here comes the Reading Festival information! Are you excited? We certainly are!

This year’s Reading Festival takes place in week 17 (April 25 – 29) with its theme of “appreciation”. Sophie and I will prepare short daily video messages for the students to watch in class. Each video will focus on a different genre and what can be appreciated about it. Each video will end with a question for the students to discuss in class. These videos will be posted on our library blog as well, so you can watch them at home too if you’d like!

Every class gets to meet, work with and learn from an author-illustrator! We would like to welcome back Swedish author and illustrator Hanna Olausson, who will be working with all the PYP and LGRP F and 1 students. Canadian author and illustrator Elise Gravel will do online workshops with the PYP and LGRP 2 and 3 students. Welcome to graphic novel creator Victoria Jamieson, visiting from Pennsylvania (USA), who will be working with all the PYP and LGRP 4 and 5 students. We are super excited to be learning from such inspiring and skilled author-illustrators! These events are made possible by the Creative School (Skapande Skola) grant we have received from the National Council of the Arts (Kulturrådet).

On Tuesday, April 26th, there will be a Read-A-Thon after school (14.30 – 16.30) in the library. Students find sponsors (family, friends, neighbors, etc.) to raise money for a certain amount of time that they’re reading. For example, 10 kronor for every 30 mins. The total amount they raise, will be donated to a to-be-determined charity. In previous years, we’ve let the Read-A-Thon participants choose which book(s) should be bought for the school library with the money they had raised. But this year we felt it was appropriate to donate the money to children who need it (much) more than we do. We’ve already got an amazing, well-stocked library! And the students I spoke to today, agreed! Forms for the Read-A-Thon will be handed out after the Easter Break. They will be downloadable from this blog then as well.

On Friday, April 29th, it will be Dress Up Day! Students are invited to dress up to look like their favorite book character. No need to buy expensive costumes, be creative with what you’ve got, borrow from friends, or make something fun out of cardboard! (Become a character from the Cardboard Kingdom!). No face masks please, face paint is okay. No weapons, but wands are accepted. It is voluntary to dress up, but we hope many will join in the fun!

On Friday, April 29th, we will have a book sale after school (14.30 – 16.00) in the library. Students, and their parents, can buy books by Hanna Olausson and Victoria Jamieson. The visiting authors will be there to sign these books! You’re also welcome to just come say hello to the authors and to tell them why you love their work!

The students who would like to buy books by Elise Gravel, will need to be patient! Because it will work like this: we will have a display of Elise Gravel’s books. Students will choose which book(s) they’d like to buy. We will write this down, while the parent swishes us the amount. After the book sale is over, we will order all the books. In the meantime, Elise Gravel will prepare a dedication and signature on a sticker for each student who has bought a book (she will receive a list of names and titles from us). Once the books and those stickers have arrived, we will put the right sticker in the right book and hand the books out to the students. Elise is doing virtual visits and is not able to attend the book sale in person, but because we think it is special and valuable to buy a book by an author you’ve met, and have it signed, that we’ve come up with a way of achieving this!

Today, students have asked, “What about DEAR?”. DEAR means “Drop Everything And Read”, which we have done in the previous years. We haven’t organized this as a school this year, but students are very welcome to organize DEAR with their class! Together with their teacher, they can decide which day works best for them to do DEAR. And that goes with any other reading-related initiative students come with to add to the Reading Festival activities, like “share your favorite book day” or “recite a poem day”, etc. We are looking forward to seeing student agency!

PYP Library Times

Last week, we heard some insightful reflections as to which character we felt the most/least connected to, and why. For example, a student shared that she also shows only happiness to others, even though she feels sad inside – just like the character in the book. We heard many more of these thoughtful connections with different fictional characters. I felt honored and moved by the sharing that took place last week.

This week, the lessons will have a very different character: I will share everything the students need or want to know about the Reading Festival happening in week 17!

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