SLAV Online Book Club – August 11th 2021 – Strategies and Titles to Engage Reluctant Readers

Our thanks to those of you able to join us for our recent book club meeting to discuss strategies and titles that have worked with reluctant readers. As we discussed in the meeting, there is an important difference between readers who are reluctant because of barriers to reading (low literacy levels, learning difficulties, etc.) and readers who are simply reluctant to read, despite being good readers. Readers who need to be encouraged and engaged. As always, so many of you had so many wonderful contributions to share with us, and it is very appreciated.

Below is the hugely diverse and broad list of titles and series shared and discussed. Some titles may have an indicated suitable age range next to each title, however this is merely a guide and we encourage you to use your own judgement, as you know your students best.

We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on September 9th 2021 to discuss Culturally Diverse books.

Disclaimer: The lists generated as a result of Book Club discussions are not, by any means, an exhaustive list of all titles or authors for each genre/category discussed. Nor will all titles be suitable for all libraries. We advise staff discretion when referencing these lists, to properly confirm individual title suitability for individual libraries, school and students needs. These are suggested titles only, shared by our members and inclusion on, or exclusion from, a list does not suggest SLAV endorsement or rejection of a title.

Books for Reluctant Readers
Subjects/ formats of current interest –
DK Guide to Rocks and Gems
Science Comics, I Survived Series are good non-fiction graphic novels
Magazines
Non-Fiction Choose Your Own Adventure
Almost anything about cars
World War 1 & 2 nonfiction
The “Who is…?” and “Who was…?” biographies
Sporting/Athlete Biographies
Secondary – AFL and Cricket biographies are popular
Non-Fiction about sustainable living is really popular with secondary students
Younger format Biographies such as the Little People Big Dreams
All things Minecraft – guides and fictional stories to support the world building
National Geographic Weird but True
Dylan Alcott Biography
Anything about Skateboarding
We’ve had some interested in books about the share market
Recipe Books
Anything diary related is also popular.
We have had a huge resurgence in reading Stephen King novels (Secondary students)
Horror
Choose Your Own Adventure
True Crime

Strategies shared
Borrowing out both an audiobook and text version of the same book can be a great support. We’ve done that for struggling readers that want to take part in our Readers Cup challenge
Create a List of Dyslexia Friendly Books.
We’re trialling a Read Aloud option with our Year 9 boys who struggle. So far it’s working well with the boys keen to start each week… and others in the larger reading cohort wanting to join
We are doing the Premier’s Reading Challenge and we have a “quick reads” trolley with short and sharp novellas.
Build up a short story collection
For teachers: Jim Trelease’s The Read-aloud Handbook has great suggestions across all ages for books with a vibrant narrative voice(s). I’ve consulted it over the years — now in its 8th edition.
We have moved our books on film to the DVD stands
I’ve been working on pairing books with audio books that are exactly the same
My favourite thing to say “you won’t believe that will happen in Chapter 4” and the kids come back saying “OMG, you won’t believe it”.
Have Students recommend books. Display these face out with a tick on them (spine & front cover)
We do book chats in groups and students recommend books to other. The power of the friendship recommendation is strong.

Book Suggestions and Chat Discussion
Verse Novels
Steven Herrick
One and Also We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan
Love that Dog and Hate that Cat (great read aloud)
Bindi by Kirli Saunders

Graphic novels can be helpful
Alex Rider
James Patterson
Maximum Ride
Macbeth
Bartolo
The I Survived Series by Scholastic
Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone
New Kid by Jerry Craft

Barrington Stoke Series
Other Suggestions

Guinness Book of Records
Factopedia
Amulet Series
Wings of Fire Series
My Hero Academia (Manga) The Boy Who Became a Dragon: Bruce Lee Story – Jim Di
Onjali Rauf, The Boy at the Back of the Class (refugee story).
Jack Heath’s short stories 200, 300 minutes of….
All Manga
High Interest Publishing – Canada – can be great for VCAL seniors, Literature Circles, class novel. Short snappy novels.
Horrible Histories
The Little Bookroom’s Recommendations for Reluctant Readers
Tried and true: Wonder Compendium by R.J Palacio (a boy I taught once said “This book feels like it’s reading itself to me”).
George Ivanoff’s Survival Series
Science Comics, I Survived series are good non-fiction graphic novels As well as: They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, The Best We Can Do by Thi Bui
Dropping In by Geoff Havel
Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle
Biographies such as the Little People Big Dreams and the DK books. Students don’t have to commit too much time and can be used as a launching pad for more
Wonder is great and there are a few other titles that we market as ‘read alikes’ such as Ugly by Robert Hoge.
Bad Guys Series by Aaron Blabey
Anh Do’s Series – Wolf Girl, E-Boy, Sky Dragon all work well with Year 7 struggling readers
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Real Pigeons Fight Crime Series – by Andrew McDonald and Ben Wood – this is being adapted for an animated series on Nickelodeon
Primary School: try the Little Gem books by Anna Zobel they’re also good for children who have dyslexia. Billie. B. Brown and Hey Jack by Sally Rippin. School of Monsters by Sally Rippin
Our Australian Girl Series
Anything by Raina Telgemeier, Babysitters Club
Leigh Hobbs Old Tom which is a compilation of 4 to 5 picture books also works well with EAL readers. It is simple but looks like a big fat book.
The Cherub Series by Robert Muchamore is really popular with year 7 and 8 boys. Also Ultimate & Classic Football heroes books are very popular with boys who don’t usually like to read
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is great for older readers
Babysitters Club very popular. Start with the Graphic Novels and then show them the actual novels . Under 150 pages, good size text and easy language.
Anything by Gary Paulsen
F.L.Y. Financially Literate Youth is a good one for finance interests
Neal Shusterman – Unwind, Dry Lex Thomas – Quarantine good for reluctant but capable readers
Once Series by Morris Gleitzman
Dork Diaries, Tom Gates, Geronimo Stilton/Thea Stilton, and Adventure Time books also good for reluctant and/or EAL kids + early teens
I have students wanting to read about real stories / murder mystery e.g. OJ Simpson
Counting by 7s Holly Goldberg Sloan
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Geek Girl got one of our reluctant readers started. Also agree with verse novels
Keeper of the Lost Cities’ Series by Shannon Messenger great for Harry Potter fans
Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson is very popular. More inclusive books seem to work with our school community.
Quick Reads that connect to their interest area – Soccer (Ultimate Football Heroes)
Parvana is also available in Graphic Novel
My son loves The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander’s
Daughter couldn’t put down Highway Bodies by Alison Evans
Anything Roald Dahl is really popular in my school at the moment
Scythe by Neal Shusterman walks off the shelf after book talking
My little sister started reading more in Year 12, she has read: My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Lonely Castle in the Mirror, Before the Coffee Gets Cold, and Convenience Store Woman. But not sure how some of these would do in high school libraries
We have had a huge resurgence in reading Stephen King novels with reluctant readers…the more horror the better
We had a book called ‘Crime Time: Australians behaving badly’ that was a collection of chapters timelining the history of Australian criminals. That was very popular when students were aware of it! Not so recent, but goes back to Ned Kelly times etc.
Risk by Ferris Fleur with students who don’t identify as readers. Mysteries such as One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
Great Escape by Felice Arena is great to get kids interested in historical fiction.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Minecraft novels appeal to players
Five Nights at Freddies Series is based on a video game. Quite scary.
We’re bringing in more Legend of Zelda Manga into the collection for the primary school children
D&D is very popular
Gamer trilogy by Chris Bradford (short, gritty, dystopian video gaming future). Chris Bradford, amazing author
Cry Blue Murder by Kim Kane & Marion Roberts also appeals because it breaks up the text
The Road to Winter by Mark Smith is very popular for year 9 very topical and fast moving. Any student that liked Tomorrow when the War Began by John Marsden will love it!!
None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney
Red Eye Series, scary, thrilling, horror
They Both Die in the End Adam Silvera
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Making Friends by Kirsten Gudsnuk
Heartstopper GN Series by Alice Oseman
Reluctant readers have shown to like or seek books like Bro – similar background Lebanese
This is Where it Ends Marieke Nijkamp
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is moving through our Year 8’s at the moment.
Carousel by Brendan Ritchie is popular
Wilder Girls by Rory Powers
One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus – I would recommend for year 8-9 and good year 7s
After Wings of Fire – for primary, junior sec – The Dragon Prince by Aaron and Melanie Ehasz
Animorphs Graphic Novels
Warriors GN
Lumberjanes GN
This is How We Change the Ending by Vikki Wakefield
Kids are loving medical supernatural mysteries – Whisper/Weapon, The Program/The Treatment/The Remedy
A Trio of Sophies by Eileen Merriman is another one that I’ve had success with for students who have liked the one of us is lying series
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
We can’t keep Fleur Ferris books on our shelves, always being borrowed.
Lightfall: the girl & the Galdurian by Tim Probert is another good graphic novel
Robert Cormier’s novels: oldies but goodies. We all Fall Down for Year 9+
Starters and Enders has had a resurgence at my school
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Attack on Titan!! Love them
Manga readers are not reluctant and highly sophisticated in my view.
Manga most popular in my school – shelves always empty
Dog Man is really popular and really funny – Dav Pilkey
Captain Underpants, Toffle Towers, Nat Amoore’s books, Dog Man are all good humour
I know that there was a written anthology of short stories around “Attack on Titan” Manga, however I don’t know what reading level it is.
The Tokyo Ghoul manga series also has some companion novels, I have had some students use them as a bridge
Treehouse Series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Mercy Watson for the Preps and Year 1s
Atticus Von Tasticus by Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King
I have found the kids who read Manga are often interested in Art/Gaming so have spent money on the ‘Art of Manga’ and some have moved onto these nonfiction
The Bolds Series by Julian Clary
Some manga that’s popular in primary: Spirited Away, Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Haikyuu!, Sailor Moon, Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card, Yuzu the Pet Vet, Chi’s Sweet Home,
Robert Muchamore’s CHERUB series and Henderson’s Boys series
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer is funny too
The Funny KId by Matt Stanton series for lower/mid primary
Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer is very funny.
I agree that our Manga readers are thinkers and will happily bridge to a chapter book if it complements what they are reading in their Manga.
I think we often focus on “wide reading” and this lends to us trying to move readers “off Manga” rather than the skills of the student or the content of the Manga.
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
A Million Things by Emily Spurr – more adult but mature readers would probably like it too
Marley and Me by John Grogon
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DeCamillo is good
Aussie Nibbles, Bites, Chunks collections.
Pawcasso by Remy Lai
Warriors Series by Erin Hunter
Middle Grade Read -Living Next Door to Doctor Death – Spider Lee. Great short cliff hanging chapters. Both boys and girls love it.

What We Are Reading/ Adult Reading
Migrations and Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni (YA)
The Dressmakers of Yarrandarra Prison by Meredith Jaffe
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
The Paris Library by Janet Skelian Charles
Locust Summer by David Allan-Petale:
The Deep by Kyle Perry
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
Lonely Castle In the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth
The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson (YA)
Penguin Bloom by Bradley Trevor Greive
Before You Knew My Name – by Jacqueline Bublitz
Who Gets To Be Smart by Bri Lee
Songlines – Lynne Kelly
Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim
Women and Other Monsters by Jess Zimmerman
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
Nemesis by Roth
The Golden Age by Joan London
Silent Footsteps by Sally Hepworth
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

 

 

 

The Importance of Reading and School Libraries

Library professionals have long known the benefits of school library spaces, managed and staffed by qualified library staff. We are all very aware of how vital school libraries are, for a myriad of reasons.

COVID19 has had an enormous impact on how our students learn, access books, resources and libraries. It has also had a significant impact on student wellbeing. Much is being written about the importance of reading for continued well being, including this excellent article written by Dr. Margaret. K. Merga and published on The Conversation on August 9th 2021.  She writes “We know that adults who are avid readers enjoy being able to escape into their books. Reading for pleasure can reduce psychological distress and has been related to mental well-being. Reading-based interventions have been used successfully to support children who have experienced trauma. In a recent study, around 60% of young people agreed reading during lockdown helped them to feel better.” 

The article draws upon findings from her important research into Libraries as Wellbeing Supportive Spaces in Contemporary Schools published in July of 2021.

Dr. Merga’s findings further reinforce the important work that SLAV completed in 2020. During June 2020, the School Library Association of Victoria surveyed its members in order to gain a picture of what remote learning meant for school libraries during term two. 269 people responded to 20 questions in an online survey.

From the Executive Summary – “The results of this survey clearly indicate the vital role of school libraries in our school communities. There are many examples here of trained library professionals displaying creativity and flexibility in responding to the learning and teaching needs of remote learning. Results clearly demonstrate how a well-staffed and well-resourced school library supports and enriches a school community. This is vital for learning and teaching, but also in support of the general well-being of staff and students and the common pursuit of developing resilient, life-long learners.” You can read the full report which includes a comprehensive reference list – here 

From SLAV Executive Officer Dr. Susan La Marca – “The spread of articles published during this period both online and in our journals, on this topic, are excellent examples of best practice responses to remote learning. They also indicate a high level of engagement with the issues related to learning and teaching by school library professionals during a time of disruption. These teacher librarians, and their school library teams, have also demonstrated a level of proactivity, expertise and reflection that is to be celebrated.”

 

Continuing To Work From Home – Some Ideas

With the recent lockdowns and remote learning continuing on and off, many of our members have been sharing (through our discussion forums) tasks they are prioritising and assigning library staff during our time working from home. We thought it might be helpful to share a list of those here for you to reference and, if needed, to jog your memory for tasks that can be done remotely at this time.

These two articles from Knowledge Quest offer food for thought:

The School Library Is Still Open! Ten Ways to Change Our Physical Spaces into Virtual LibrariesThe New

Virtual Reality: Surviving and Thriving as a School Librarian during a Pandemic

Other tasks you might like to consider and schedule are:

Revisit, revise or update policy statements on library operation
Update procedures manual
LMS
• Reconsider home page
• Revisit loan period dates
• Fix cataloguing errors
• Maintain authority file
• Update patron records
• Reassess genre lists
• Update cover images
• Update keywords and subject headings

Professional learning
Reading – FYI and Synergy
• Access past event material in the members only area of the SLAV website
• Access webinars on your particular LMS, databases etc

Update the library website
Promote ebooks and databases to staff and students
• Create user guides

Promote your availability for one-on-one online support to staff and students
Promote online competition options for students
Consider opportunity to attend more faculty area meetings
Curate resources to support projects and tasks across remainder of 2021
Liaise with teachers to incorporate research skills into future units of work
Plan displays and library activities for remainder of 2021
Begin compiling statistics and data for annual report to school admin / council

What can you work on now to ease the load in 2022? If you have any ideas or suggestions, or you think of something we may have missed, please feel free to contribute in the comments.

 

SLAV Primary Conference Poster Gallery – May 24th 2021

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.

SLAV Primary Conference Poster Gallery – May 24th 2021 Our thanks to those conference attendees who participated in the poster gallery competition! We had 6 wonderful submissions, all sharing great ideas. The criteria specified for our poster gallery submissins were … Continue reading

October is International School Library Month!

Ocotber is not far away and now might be a good time to consider celebrating your school library, and school libraries around the world, anytime during October.

The International Association of School Librarianship (IASL), of which SLAV is a partner association, offers a range of activities and ideas to help you celebrate. A great way to welcome in term four.

The 2020 theme for ISLM is “Finding Your Way to Good Health and Well Being”. It is based on one of the UNSDG goals i.e. UN Sustainable Development Goal #3 “Good Health and Well Being”. This year participants are invited to think about and celebrate the link between books, reading, school libraries, good health and well being.

You can access IASL ISLM resources, and get more information HERE.

Share Your COVID-19 School Library Experience

From the team at Students Need School Libraries

COVID-19. It changed Term 1, 2020. It changed the way students and school staff approach Term 2, 2020. It changed the way we view education. It changed the world. What it didn’t change was the need for school libraries run by a qualified and passionate school library team.

We want to know and share what school libraries or school library teams have been focusing on during this COVID crisis. It might look a little different from the usual, but it’s even more important during this time of change and upheaval.

The Task: We want to know what you, as a library staff member or library team, have been focusing on during this COVID crisis.

The Goal: To continue sharing the word about the importance of school libraries and school library staff. Schools are blessed to have you. And the schools without you are probably wishing they did have you right about now.

What you would need to do: Take 5 minutes to respond to the questions below or write a short paragraph about how your school library is responding to the COVID crisis and email it to blog@studentsneedschoollibraries.org.au Anyone involved in school libraries in any way is welcome to respond, from school library staff to parents or students, authors running virtual visits or publishers providing access to resources.

We will feature responses on the Students Need School Libraries Website and social media pages and we hope to share the stories around the world in collaboration with our international colleagues. We hope we can rally around each together during this time to support each other, our students, school staff and the wider community. Please let us know if you have any other ideas you would like to share.

Snapshot of a School Library during COVID-19.

  1. What has been the focus for your school library/ role during the COVID-19 crisis?
  2. What major tasks have you achieved?
  3. What has been the result for staff and/or students?
  4. What other information would you like readers to know?
  • Do you give permission for this information to be shared beyond the Students Need School Libraries website and social media, for example in an articles for a school library journal? Yes/No/I’d need to be contacted first
  • Would you like this posted anonymously: Yes/No. If no, please answer the questions below.
    • Your role/s:
    • Your school:

You can find more information here. https://studentsneedschoollibraries.org.au/blog/share-your-covid-19-school-library-experience/

NEW! Discussion Forum

SLAV have started a Discussion Forum where members can share and discuss ideas and resources. To start off, we have created four threads that respond to the current crisis. They are:

Online learning resources
Safety precautions in school libraries
Tasks for working remotely
Wide reading lessons online

We have also created an open forum that allows you to pose a question, on any topic, to the SLAV Community.

The Discussion Forum can be accessed via the link below. The system will prompt you to sign in with your SLAV member username (the email address we have for you in our system) and the password you have set.

Once in the forum it is just a matter of replying to one of the threads to start sharing and contributing.

You can tick a box to receive emails about new posts. Join the Discussion Forum HERE.

Professional Learning Resource Round Up

As we all respond to the directives and guidelines in relation to COVID – 19 our association is working hard to ensure we are doing all we can to support our members.

With some schools needing to close for indefinite periods of time there may be a need for your school library staff to indicate ways they are exploring professional learning during a period of school closure or changed operations.

To assist, we have created this post, listing a range of professional learning opportunities made available to members.

A range of presentations from past Professional Learning Events can be accessed via the SLAV Member Login page HERE.

Over the past two years we have created podcasts of all of our Reading Forum events as well recording a selection of presentations given at our major conferences. These podcasts are available to anyone online and can be accessed HERE.

Synergy is our online, research based, journal. The most recent edition of the journal is closed to members only but all other editions of the journal are made freely available in light of the Associations interest in being collegiate and supportive of the wider professional community. We encourage you to explore the wealth of information from current and past editions HERE. 

Digital issues of our publication – FYI – can be accessed HERE. 

As a SLAV member, you also have access to resources from the International Association of School Librarianship through our partner membership status. There are some wonderful resources to be accessed on the IASL website and we encourage you to find time to explore them. Login details are available on our Member Login page.

Finally, a word on our 2020 Professional Learning Calendar. As we advised in our most recent newsletter we are doing all we can to ensure we are keeping our members and presenters safe, and are responding to guidelines and directives accordingly.

Events – cancellations and postponements

Our March 23 conference has been cancelled.

The IB workshop to be held in conjunction with DATTA Vic at Kardinia College on April 16 has been cancelled.

Our May Masterclass in conjunction with LMERC – Powering Learning: Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives has been moved to September 4.

Our May 29 Conference – School Libraries: Powering Primary has been moved to September 14.

The National Education Summit on August 28 and 29 at MCEC, a strand of which we are a partner in providing, has been postponed to a later date yet to be announced.

All other Reading Forums, Workshops and Masterclasses

The remainder of our program are events that are to be held in school venues. At present we are continuing to plan and offer these events on the understanding that a decision will be made a month to two weeks out from each as to whether they are to go ahead. As it is very difficult to know exactly where we will be in two months’ time this approach is hopefully the best response in unknown times.

If you have any queries about this, please contact the SLAV office on 0477 439 593 or email slav@slav.org.au

We encourage all members to stay in touch with each other in these challenging times. Our branch structure is an excellent source of local support.  We encourage you to reach out and offer collegiate advice wherever you can and to ask if you need help or assistance. Our social media platforms can also be a source of connection. Please do reach out, we are open to assisting you in any way we can.

Conference report: Process of change

library-engaging
During 2014, School Library Assoc of Victoria has presented a full calendar of professional learning.  This post reflects on the conference School Library Roles: a Process of change held on 31 October at the Catholic Leadership Centre, East Melbourne.  The gathering of over 120 delegates reflected on the impact that change has in school library staff job descriptions, tasks and responsibilities and how it is to be managed.

Head of Library at Whitefriars Catholic College, Rhonda Powling, laid out the tone of the conference in her opening keynote.   Karen Malbon provides a thoughtful reflection on the presentation in her blog Infinite Possibilities where she says:

So often we hear gloom and doom stories about school libraries. Rhonda is optimistic for the future and drew our attention to the futuristic thinking of Mark Pesce and the 2013 ALIA discussion paper, Library and Information Services: the future of the profession themes and scenarios 2025.The three themes identified were convergence, connection and the golden age of information. Convergence generally means fewer jobs but require skills, connection is a library strength and the golden age of information is full of possibilities for libraries.
Libraries will flourish with professional expertise, connectedness, by building relationships with the community and by empowering clients. It is time to let go and move on. School library staff need to be open to challenges, creative, team based, collaborative and focused on the needs of community……. Read all of Karen’s reflection…

 

One of the aims of the day was to provide the conditions for delegates to discuss the variations between the roles of library staff and the impact on library team members’ situations.  Personal input and discussion, followed by presentations from a panel of library staff who spoke positively about their jobs and the students they encounter daily was encouragement for everyone to go back to school and look closely at their roles and the documentation supporting it.  Resources to support an analysis of roles and preparation for an annual review meeting can be found here.

There’s an increased emphasis at SLAV conferences to allow delegates time to try out new skills, discuss what works and simply swap ideas.  The ‘sand pit’ session facilitated by Glenda Morris, teacher librarian, was hands-on time covering a range of topics from web tools to makerspaces and search engines.  Comments from these sessions and more covered in the conference are captured in the Storify below.

SLAV conferences are increasingly about raising issues and building knowledge through the community.  School libraries are being challenged, as Rhonda pointed out in her keynote, yet the future is potentially very bright.   It does, however, require rethinking, reskilling and a good understanding of your role.