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

  In This Issue:
  The Importance of Talking About Books
  10 Reading Conversation Starters
  Book Buzz: "Literary Lions"

Power of the Principal: Talking About Books
By Amy Cohn – Author, Publisher, Instructor

I went to elementary school in the 1960s – P.S. 79 in Whitestone, Queens, to be precise. Our principal was Mr. Campbell. Perhaps he had a first name; no one mentioned it to me! He was small, bald, and wore a suit. And he sat behind a desk in an enormous office. To cross from the door to the desk required a trek across a pale green carpet about the same size as the Australian outback.

Talking about books is infectious!I didn’t think he knew my name, grade, or area of study. And I'm sure if he ever actually spoke to me, I would have fainted from fear. Thankfully, things are different now. When I visit a school, I'm amazed at the high-fives exchanged between the chief administrator and students, and the end-of-day hugs bestowed on supervisors as kids head for their rides.

All this camaraderie offers a great opportunity to engage children briefly, and informally, in a discussion about books. How do you get these conversations going? Read on!

  Printables for Principals
Copy-and-Share Resources to Use in
Your Own Newsletters
 For Families:
Volunteering in the
Bridging the Home-School
Building Comprehension Strategies
Help Adolescents Use the Building Blocks of Reading
Coming March 30: 17th Annual National Family Literacy Conference
 For Teachers:
Boost Your Knowledge, Skills, and Daily Work with Families
Setting the Climate for Parent Involvement
Communication Between Schools and Families
10 Reading Conversation Starters
A well-timed expression of interest and encouragement goes a long way towards reinforcing the importance of reading. Children benefit when they are reminded, however subtly, that reading is not merely a solitary pursuit. Don’t expect these chats to last a long time; the briefest exchange accomplishes a lot. To get these talks going, here are a few reading conversation starters:

1. Hey, do you have a book in that backpack? Is it good?
2. I stayed up late last night reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – Have you read it too?
3. My son gave me a Captain Underpants doll for my birthday. Do you think he thinks I’m like Mr. Krupp, the principal in that book?

Download all 10 conversation starters now.

Book Buzz: "Literary Lions"
Preview great, new featured booksPrincipal to Principal Tip: At Lexington Junior High, we have a Literary Lion Club. Members can visit the library before or after school, or if a student is a "card carrying" member, they can visit the library during class when they have completed their work. As Principal, I am a member and often read with the students after school. I flash my card when I go in, and the students think it's pretty cool that I'm a member and I read with them. Plus, members get first pick of the newest titles, which they love.

–Tip courtesy of Jodie A. Wales, Principal, Lexington Junior High School

Want to be a Literary Lion in your school? Check out these featured books for a list of popular, current books for young people.


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