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Sunday, 26 June 2016

SLA16: Notes from the book blogging panel

Good morning All,

I promised I would post links to things I mentioned in the panel discussions yesterday at SLA2016.

National Literacy Trust Research

Clark, C. (2016). Children's and Young People's Reading in 2015. London: National Literacy Trust. [pdf]. Available at: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/research/nlt_research/7163_childrens_and_young_peoples_reading_in_2015
I recommend reading the whole report but see pages 12-20 for the references to technology, social media and blogging.

Clark, C., & Teravainen, A. (2015). Teachers and Literacy: Their perceptions, understanding,
confidence and awareness. London: National Literacy Trust. [pdf]. Available at: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/research/nlt_research/6904_teachers_and_literacy_their_perceptions_understanding_confidence_and_awareness
This report provides a useful insight into teachers and literacy. Read this for an overview but I also recommend reading:

UKLA Funded Research

Cremin, T., Mottram, M., Collins, F. M., Powell, S., & Safford, K. (2014).  Building communities of engaged readers : Reading for pleasure. Oxon: Routledge. http://oro.open.ac.uk/40475/
It discusses a reading for pleasure pedagogy, the gaps in teacher's children's literature knowledge and the need for a professional dialogue between teachers and librarians.

Impact studies

The seminal study by Keith Curry Lance can be found here:
Lance, K. C. Welborn, L., Hamilton-Pennell, Christine. (1993). The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement. Castle Rock, Colorado: Hi Willow Research and Publishing. [pdf]. Available at: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED353989.pdf

Research that has built on Lance can be found at the Library Research Service: https://www.lrs.org/data-tools/school-libraries/impact-studies/

Scholastic have also collated lots of research in a document: School Libraries Work 2016: http://www.scholastic.com/SLW2016/ You'll need to register to download it but its a useful advocacy tool.

ALA School Library Research
The journal - School Library Research - of the American Association of School Librarians is open access and has lots of interesting articles.

Blogging - the basics

Blog platforms: Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr.

Social media: Twitter you can find me @the_bookette Lucy Powrie @lucythereader Lucy Richardson @bookbellreads
Tweetdeck to manage those online Twitter chats
I forgot to mention that there's #uklibchat - the next one is 6.30 on Tuesday 5th July and the topic is librarianship across borders
Lucy's next #ukyachat is Wednesday 6th July at 8pm - topic National Novel Writing Month

Something else I meant to mention but forgot was Canva.com which I use to design the graphics at the top of the  blog posts. In fact I use Canva to design lots of my work including all the slides for my lessons. It takes a while to get the hang of it but the results are great.

Information Literacy

Not something that came up in the blogging session but over lunch was how to measure impact of IL sessions. I talked about using TRAILS (developed by Kent State University Libraries) a free to use assessment tool which can be found here: http://www.trails-9.org/index.php

If there's anything else I mentioned which I haven't included in the posts, leave a comment and I'll do my best to update this for you.

P.S. A couple of people mentioned how much they'd like to read my dissertation (thank you). I promise I will write it up as research and post a link to wherever it is published here.

Monday, 20 June 2016

4 books for fans of contemporary YA

My fiction reading may not be at the pace of my pre-masters lifestyle but I am still reading. I just hardly ever have time to write about it.

I've read four contemporary young adults novels in the past few months and they were all really rewarding reads.

1) Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

Parker Santé hasn't spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching (and sometimes stealing from) the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he'll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.

My thoughts:
This was bitter-sweet. I didn't cry when I read it. And I can't say that it was a sweeping off your feet romance. It was deeper and I suppose more troubling than that. But I found it enthralling. I think this book will appeal to both genders. It didn't find it sentimental.

2) Rebel Geek Bully Pariah by Erin Lange

The truth is that jail is a place where you can still hold on to hope - hope you'll be bailed out, hope you'll be found innocent, hope you'll get a second chance.
Four teenagers, never destined to be friends - one rebel, one bully, one geek and one pariah, find themselves on the run from corrupt police officers in a stolen police car. How can you prove your innocence when the people who are supposed to protect you are the ones out to get you?
A beautiful, thrilling story of rebellion, and of friendship triumphing against all odds.

My thoughts:
I read Dead Ends last year and I really enjoyed it. So I was keen to read this as soon as I bought it. Lange didn't disappoint. It was daft in places but I liked it all the more for that. The twist at the end didn't come as a surprise but it was an entirely satisfying read. It was about friendship, difference and finding yourself. I really enjoyed it.

3) We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Before Ardor, we let ourselves be defined by labels - the athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever. But then we all looked up and everything changed. They said the asteroid would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we'd been, something that would last even after the end. Two months to really live.

My thoughts:
After reading Thanks for the Trouble, I knew I had to give this a go. (Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the review copy. They sent it ages ago!).

This book is a dark and brooding contemporary read. The potential end of the world doesn't always bring out the best in humanity. But in fact, this book made me laugh at times. It was the dialogue. There were some great one liners! I liked the ambiguity in the plot too.

4) The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Andie has a plan and she always sticks to the plan.
Future? A top tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid as much as possible (which isn't that hard considering he's a Congressman and never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby - pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one's worth more than three weeks.
So it's no surprise she's got her summer all planned out too.
Until a political scandal cancels her summer pre-med internship, and lands both her and Dad back in the same house for the first time in years. Suddenly she's doing things that aren't Andie at all - working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark in closer than expected. Palmer, Bri and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but here's the thing ... can she?

My thoughts:
Well thank goodness I have read all Morgan Matson's other books because with a cover like that, I would not have bought this book otherwise. I know that's judgmental but it is the truth. I can't help but think I'm not really the target audience for this book but I loved it. My favourite out of each of these titles (and they were all great in their own way). It was hopelessly romantic. A total page-turner. I couldn't wait to get home from work to finish it.


I highly recommend all four of these contemporary reads. I could with some summer contemporary suggestions for the holiday. Any ideas?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

School libraries: Research

Right now, I'm working on my master's dissertation and it is great because I get to read all the school library research.

The American Association of School Librarian's scholarly journal: School Library Research is entirely open access which makes it a really useful tool to narrow the gap between research and practice. My favourite article is this one:

Small, Ruth V., Shanahan, Kathryn A. and Stasak, Megan. (2010) "The Impact of New York's School Libraries on Student Achievement and Motivation: Phase III." School Library Media Research Vol. 13.

It gives a really clear picture of the role of the school librarian in the 'elementary school'.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

School libraries: Online mini-conference

Libraries 2.0: the future of libraries in the digital age have recently organised an online conference and it's all available to watch online. Just follow this link: http://www.library20.com/page/classroom-recordings

The theme is Libraries as Classroom. David V. Loertscher's session on Open Educational Resources at the Junction of Library and Classroom is must-watch!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Book review: 'Who Could That Be at This Hour?'

Author: Lemony Snicket

Release date: 20th June 2013
Genre: Mystery
Target audience: 9+
Publisher: Egmont


‘Who Could That Be at This Hour?’ is a quirky, oddball mystery. It’s whacky, it’s confusing and it’s full of fantastic words. It’s the first book in the All the Wrong Questions series.

Lemony Snicket is a young apprentice to S. Thedora Markson. Quite what is he is training for is unclear. But I gathered that it was perhaps a private detective of some kind. He travels with Thedora to a client in Stain’d-by-the-Sea. A town unlike one you’ve ever seen before. There he is employed to locate and return an object which has been stolen.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But I’m not sure I’ve ever read a children’s book which was so deliberately confusing. This book is bonkers. Why was Lemony Snicket in the cafe at the beginning? Why did he sneak out the window? Why does he choose the worst chaperone available? I’ve finished the book and there are still many unanswered questions. However, I did enjoy reading it.

My only complaint about this oddball book is the ending. Because after all the crazy setting, characters and unanswered questions, it turns out you have to read the next one to find out who was after the stolen object in this story. I felt like I’d been cheated. I love series books but as far as I’m concerned the story does need to be wrapped up rather than just left hanging. Especially when you consider that younger readers are persevering with so much new exciting language and strange happenings. They deserve a rewarding ending and not a feeling of bafflement.

A quick mention for the illustrations by Seth - I love them. They are as quirky as the story and they certainly helped me follow what was happening.

I decided to read this book for the A to Z Reading Challenge – for letter Q for Questions. It is surely the perfect book for that category. It was funny and definitely strange and overall, it was entertaining.

Source: Borrowed from the school library