Thursday, November 17, 2016

Berkeley's Mock Newbery Book Clubs -- bringing 500+ readers together!!!

This year for the first time, every elementary school in Berkeley Unified School District is launching a Mock Newbery Book Club. The American Library Association awards the Newbery Award each year to the most distinguished children's book written by an American author. Kids know this award and have been so excited to add their voices, taking part in mock elections.
We thought many 4th and 5th graders would be interested, especially after the success of Emerson’s Mock Newbery Book Club these past couple of years — but we had no way of predicting the enthusiasm that burst forth at the schools. Over 500 students have joined the book clubs across the district, enthusiastically reading and sharing the best new books of the year.
Library staff, literacy coaches, and teachers are all working together to host book clubs--each site has two leaders who support each other. Children's librarians from Berkeley Public Library are coming to support several of our schools. Our goals are:
  • Honor students’ voices and their choices about reading, developing their thoughtful engagement and discussion of books;
  • Develop students’ identity as readers who enjoy sharing books with friends; and,
  • Harness kids’ enthusiasm so they could help create “book buzz” about brand new books
Earlier this month, we announced our final nomination list. Students helped us narrow down a potential list of 17 books, down to a manageable list of ten nominations. We welcome all 4th and 5th graders to come share books they've been reading. In order to vote in January, we ask that students read at least 5 nominated books.
As we've told our students, there are many many outstanding books written each year. These are the ones we are coming together to discuss--but if there's another great book, please share it with us. We want to know what you're loving!

If you want to know more about the process for hosting a Mock Newbery book club, please see two articles I wrote this summer with my public library friend and collaborator Armin Arethna:
I want to give special thanks to Berkeley Unified's library director, Becca Todd, for her amazing coordination of this effort and cheerful rallying of all the leaders. I also want to give special thanks to the donors of our Berkeley Public Schools Fund grant, the local PTAs and many publishers for helping provide books for our eager students. We could not have reached the number of readers without their support.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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