Sunday, June 13, 2021

Library Launches New Literacy Week Program

The Southlake Library is launching it’s first-ever Early Literacy Week Program for preschool-aged children.

The Library staff created a week of fun and engaging programs to help instill a love of reading at an early age with an emphasis on literacy. The program offers several stimulating classes and hands-on activities.

Youth Services Librarian Stacy Wells says, “The new program grew out of the Library’s participation in the Read Across America Day Initiative which takes place nationally on March 2, Dr. Suess’s birthday. We wanted to create a week-long program to encourage  literacy and reading, especially among our youngest readers.”

Below is the list of activities the Library has scheduled for the week of March 5, 2018.

Caregiver/Child Workshop

March 5, 10:00 a.m, in the Library

Join us as we kick off our early literacy week with some fun stories and guided hands-on activities.

Hands-On Literacy

March 6 and 8, at 2:00 p.m., in the Library

This come-and-go style program allows caregivers and children to work through hands-on literacy stations at their own pace.

Bunnies are Funny!

March 7, at 11:00 a.m., 3rd Floor of Town Hall

A fun and interactive storytelling of The Little Red, with a surprise visit from a furry friend.

Library Play Date

March 8, at 10:00 a.m. in the Library

Play is a great way to foster and encourage early literacy. This open play session will include blocks, manipulatives, and musical instruments. Snacks will also be provided.

Mark your calendar now so you don’t miss any of the fun and exciting events planned for Early Literacy Week.

If you have any questions, you can call the Library staff at (817) 748-8076.

Lunch Book Club: Nourishing Bodies & Minds

Every school wants to foster a love of reading in its students, but how can one more reading activity fit into an already packed educational day? Old Union Elementary Principal Jon Fike and Assistant Principal Lisa Walker found the answer – a lunchtime book club. Students come in the office during their lunch period to eat and talk about the book they are reading.

The book club at Old Union was inspired by a grant the school received from the Carroll Education Foundation called “It’s Not Just for Oprah: Book Clubs for Kids.” 

“Book Clubs are an engaging way to interact with our students in a small, relaxed setting. We eat lunch, discuss books, and build relationships,” Walker said. “The time we spend facilitating discussion is meaningful and impacts more than just reading scores.”

The students who participate agree that the book club is an opportunity to engage with peers and explore a variety of literary work.

Fourth grader, Arky Mouser said, “The book club lets me express my feelings about the book to others.”

“Book clubs are great, because I get to be with my friends, be with Mrs. Walker, but still learn,” said third grader Ellen Aughenbaugh.

There are approximately ten students at a time per book club with multiple groups per book. The girls meet with Walker and the boys meet with Fike. 

Mystery, adventure, historical fiction, and realistic fiction are some of the most popular choices among the students. For example, the third grade girl’s book club read Titanic by Gordan Korman while the fourth grade girls read Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn. Third grade boy’s book club read Infinity Ring by James Dashner while the fourth grade boys read Earthquake Terror by Peg Kehret.

“Our book club is great because I get to read books that take me on an adventure,” said third grader McKenzie Cutler.

“The goal is to encourage students to love reading and share their thoughts about what they have read with their peers,” Fike said.  “It’s a great way to promote literacy and show students that reading can be fun.”

Old Union Book Club Recommendations:

  • Swindle by Gordan Korman
  • Get Rich Quick Club by Dan Gutman
  • The Word Eater by Mary Amato
  • Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook by Mary Amato
  • The New Kid at School by Kate McMullan
  • Roscoe Riley Rules: Never Swipe a Bully’s Bear By Katherine Applegate
  • Roscoe Riley Rules: Never Glue your Friends to Chairs By Katherine Applegate
  • Earthquake Terror by Peg Kehret
  • Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow
  • Someone Named Eva by Joan Wolf
  • Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn
  • Chasing the Falconers On the Run series book 1 by Gordon Korman
  • The Shadows: The Book of Elsewhere series book 1 by Jacqueline West
  • The Infinity Ring Book 1 by James Dashner
  • Capture the Flag by Kate Messner
  • Unsinkable (Titanic Series #1) by Gordan Korman
  • The River by Gary Paulsen

Old Union Elementary’s Lunch Book Club is just one of the unique learning opportunities created by Carroll ISD educators to foster a life long love of reading in students. Throughout the 2012-13 school year the district has embraced this year’s academic theme: “Once Upon a Dragon” which emphasizes literacy. Click here to read more “Once Upon a Dragon” stories from other Carroll ISD campuses.

Novel Experience for Eubanks Students

A young boy finds out his family has moved into a house where the previous owner was murdered. A young girl discovers her true identity. A friendship is tested. Three orphaned siblings journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world. These are the themes behind the novels that Eubanks Intermediate School students are reading in book clubs this year.

Approximately 28 students meet bi-monthly in the school library for the Eubanks Book Club. Members share a passion for reading and enjoy sharing their thoughts with others in the group.

EIS librarian Lucy Drenka said, “When we meet, we simply discuss the book that we are currently reading and share recommendations with the other members of the club. I start the discussion and then toss a stuffed animal to the student who would like to speak – giving them the floor.”

“I love book club because book lovers get together and talk about the books that they have recently read,” sixth grader Nicholas Tornow said. “I’ve read several books that I never thought I would read because of book club.”

Sixth grader Natalie Gessner agreed, “I like book club because you see the different books that other people have read … it’s a fun way to be creative and be yourself.”

Club membership has its perks.

“When Tim Green visited our school, we got to sit in the front row and we sent him our picture. I can’t wait for our upcoming tour to Barnes and Noble. I will join book club again next year because I love it,” fifth grader Nadia Khalil said. 

“Members are also allowed to check out an additional book each time they visit the library, plus they are also the first to see the new books when they arrive in the library,” Drenka said.

The club has many exciting activities slated for 2013, including a meeting dedicated to sharing reader’s favorite books and treats.

“We’ll be sipping on cocoa and talking about how books warm our hearts, creating book trailers and viewing them at a popcorn party, visiting the Southlake Public Library, and sharing food items that are mentioned in books,” Drenka said. “It just doesn’t get better than that!”

Titles on member’s individual reading lists include:

  • Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn
  • Deep Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn
  • Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
  • Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan
  • Harry Potter and the Gobletof Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • The Hobbit by Tolkien
  • The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens
  • The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
  • Middle School: The Worst Year of My Life James Patterson
  •  Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • The Secret Ingredient by Laura Schaefer
  • Ungifted by Gordon Korman
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Once Upon A Time, Carroll Students Found Some New Books…

Exciting changes have been taking place around Carroll ISD neighborhoods this year. Students are begging for later bedtimes, smuggling flashlights into their rooms at night, and asking to hang out at Town Square more often.  The impetus for these behaviors is different than you may think.  Bedtimes have been postponed due to kids begging to be able to read to the end of their chapter, flashlights have been traveling into bedrooms to enable sneaky children to read their books under the covers after the lights go out, and hanging out at Town Square is actually a way to shop for books at the Southlake Public Library or Barnes and Noble on the weekends.

A focus on literacy has been the theme for Carroll ISD this year with the “Once Upon A Dragon” program that has led to numerous literacy-promoting initiatives throughout the district.  These new reading behaviors have become much more prevalent in our town as the result of differences taking place in English Language Arts classrooms and around all of the school buildings in the district.

For several years, Carroll teachers in grades K-4 have been creating rich learning environments for reading and writing workshop instruction with their students.  During the past two years, students in grades 5-12 have started experiencing similar forms of workshop instruction as well. Teachers are keeping the strong aspects of the curriculum that have been a part of their successful ELA classrooms in the past and adding in programs that teach students not only to be able to read, but to LOVE to read.

Strong reading skills are critical for student success beyond their years in Carroll ISD.  Regardless of which career path students choose, being a fluent, comprehending reader can help to ensure success.  In order for fluency and reading skills to develop, students must spend significant time practicing the activity. For this reason, many secondary ELA classrooms are encouraging (and in some cases requiring) much more “choice” reading by students outside of the class day. It is important for Carroll graduates to see reading as a viable, desirable form of entertainment. Teachers have been describing numerous examples of students who have reported avoiding all reading in recent years, but due to the renewed focus on reading for pleasure in their English Language Arts classrooms, they are returning to reading and are pleasantly surprised by how much they are enjoying the new hobby.

The benefits of reading extend beyond success in ELA classrooms.  Research has shown strong links between the number of pages students read and their vocabulary development.  Students with well developed vocabularies and reading skills perform more successfully on the SAT, ACT, AP, and STAAR tests. These skills also translate into other content area classrooms.  Carroll social studies, science, and mathematics teachers are also seeing the benefits of the “cool” culture of reading that students are starting to create.  Historical fiction, biographies, and non-fiction texts provide students with insights and background knowledge that can help them succeed in all subjects.

The Once Upon A Dragon theme has spawned countless ideas and connections to literacy across the district.  Some of these include:

  • 40 book challenge initiatives for reading in some ELA classrooms
  • A “friendly” competition for number of books read between the freshman and sophomore classes at CHS
  • Dr. Faltys encouraging reading with our community’s pre-schoolers at the Southlake Public Library
  • The participation of hundreds of district employees in a book donation drive coinciding with Convocation last August
  • Teachers attending professional development and joining “book clubs” to learn new ways to encourage both a love of reading and strong reading skills
  • Librarians creating “speed dating with books” activities and other innovative ways to connect students to books
  • Teachers providing daily/weekly blocks of time for all class members to read any book of their choice
  • The recent addition of “What I’m Reading Now…” signs outside of classrooms and offices around the district

The effects have been significant.  Libraries have seen circulation numbers increase by as much as 60% over last year. Students can be seen tucked away in nooks of campuses reading books during down time. Teachers and administrators are observing a fresh enthusiasm for reading and writing across their campuses. So, the next time your child asks where the flashlight is, please smile and hand it to them.  In fact, grab a book and snuggle up with them.  You may be surprised by how much you enjoy it.