Principal to Principal: A Publication of the Scholastic Book Fairs Principals Advisory Board
Back to School 2007  

  In This Issue:
  Rally Students to Want to Read with Booktalks
  Just Ask Sharon: Reading Tips for Families
  Book Buzz: Principal Picks

Rally Students to Want to Read
By Linda Siciliano

Linda SicilianoChoice is important to all readers, yet according to research, many students say it isn’t always easy finding books they want to read. Which begs the question: How can principals connect students with books they actually find appealing? One solution that appears to have plenty of “kid appeal” is the student-to-student booktalk, a brief story-telling session designed to stimulate a child’s interest in reading.

When children have a voice in the books they enjoy, they enrich themselves while encouraging others to read, and the teacher gains valuable insights into their reading habits and favorite books. It’s a fantastic learning experience for everyone!

At Stadley Rough Elementary School in Danbury, Connecticut, we already use booktalks in our classrooms and the media center, but we wanted to grow them in a more formal way. So we created an Earn-a-Book program coordinated by our media specialist, where students earned points for their booktalks.

Keep reading to see how we inspired student-to-student booktalks and get tips for launching a booktalk program at your school.
  Printables for Principals
Use these copy-and-share resources in your own newsletters.
 For Families:
Tips for Kick-Starting the School Year
Get Your New-Schooler Off to a Great Start
Choosing Books for Your Reader
Make 'Boring' Books Better
Break Bad Reading Habits
 For Teachers:
Resources, Tips, and Tools for New Teachers
Build a Love of Reading – Online!
Teaching Students to be Storytellers
Not-So-Scary Storybook October

Just Ask Sharon: Reading Tips for Families
National Center for Family LiteracyGuest columnist Sharon Darling is the president and founder of the National Center for Family Literacy, the worldwide leader in family literacy. Here she offers literacy advice and reading tips for families. You are welcome to copy and paste this information into your own newsletters and share it with your school community.

Question: How can I help my child become a better reader?

Answer: When you are involved in your child’s learning, he or she will be more successful! Providing language and literacy support to school-age children helps connect learning at school to learning at home. When school and home learning are linked, children are more focused and confident as they learn to read.

Here are a few strategies – ranging from simple to more complex as their abilities grow – you can use to help your child become a better reader.

Phonemic Awareness:
  Sing songs, say chants and poems, and share nursery rhymes.
  Ask your child to think of words that begin with the same sound.
  Say a word; ask your child to say words that rhyme with that word.
  Clap syllables in words and names – "How many syllables in hippopotamus?"

Keep reading for more learning-to-read strategies.

Book Buzz: Principal Picks
Preview some of our featured books.Principal to Principal Tip: To promote reading in your school, create a list of several books and authors you want to recommend to your students. Hold a drawing, and offer each student who reads one of your “Principal Picks” a chance to win a copy of the book or another prize.

Check out these featured books for a selection of titles that are sure to be a hit with your students.

–Tip courtesy of Karen Chambers, Principal, Sue Cleveland Elementary

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