RAD Programs

To generate ongoing enthusiasm, RAD created ongoing programs and incorporated these events into the yearlong plan. The list included library card sign up in September, Read-A-Mystery book in October, Winter Reading Program in December, and national poetry month in April. Every celebration has been met tremendous participation and enthusiasm from students and teachers.

Highlights from RAD Programs

September 2011: National Public Library Card ‘Sign-Up’ Month
As a growing community, we often have 100+ new students each year. RAD collaborated with our neighborhood public library’s beloved children’s librarian, Debbie Keith, to support sign-up month. Our Doss librarian created a Prezi presentation and included a video taken by our RAD chair. Ms. Keith provided an excellent introduction to our local library and promoted signing up for a library card. Students viewed the presentation during a school library visit, all school parents were provided a link to see the presentation online, and a promotional banner was posted in the library.

Result: This first-time collaboration generated notable new card sign-ups at our local public library. Students cheered at seeing the familiar face of Ms. Keith during the presentations! It was an excellent reminder that our public, neighborhood library serves as an important resource that complements our school library. The Prezi was also used as an example to inspire other neighborhood Austin public library branches to bridge with their neighborhood schools across the city.

October: Whooo’s Reading a Mystery?
This theme supported National Mystery Series Book Month by promoting reading within the genre of mystery.  Our “Book Detective,” dressed in a detective trench coat/hat, sleuthed around the school capturing photos of students caught reading mystery books.  The enthusiastic students were rewarded with a bookmark that listed many of the popular mystery titles in our school library.  Nearly 100 mysterious photos, showing only the eyes of the student peering over a book’s cover, were posted inside the library for all to investigate, thus generating further layers of excitement around the popular program.

Result: This is the first time this type of event has happened at our school.  Students who already loved mystery books were thrilled and students who were new to mystery books were inspired to explore a new genre.  Significantly more mystery books were read that month than usual.  Teachers appreciated external support in fostering interest in varied genres.

December: Winter Reading Program
To promote reading during the winter break, students at all grade levels were encouraged to participate in this program by logging their reading time and receiving a reward.

Result: This first-ever event garnered nearly 20% school participation (145 students) reading a total of 50,700 minutes (that’s 845 hours!).  On the first morning back from winter break, the library doors were full of students returning logs ready for their reward!  Winter Readers received hot cocoa mugs or special buttons.  Classes that had the most participants were recognized in our school newsletter.  In addition, the top readers with the most number of minutes read during the break received an additional reward that included small group discussion with a visiting author.  It was a very exciting week back from break!  News reached a local newspaper (West Austin News) that reported a wonderful article about our program (see attached). Teachers in several classrooms and grade levels gave extra credit to students who participated.

Diverse collaborations in communications:
In a broad school-wide and PTA collaboration, the RAD team uses every communication vehicle available to promote and foster literacy. For the first time, all teams worked together to fully utilize the PTA website, RAD webpage, weekly PTA Yahoo Blasts, our principal’s Facebook page, our librarian’s blog, teacher websites, teachers email blasts, the school’s electronic newsletter, our lobby’s electronic marquee, and paper distribution (for families not electronically engaged). This collaboration allowed all of our school families to be included and informed about our school library and RAD literary events.

In our monthly PTA newsletter, RAD has created a space for librarians and parents to share reading advice. Advice is also gathered from graduate students at an area university who study a related field.

RAD encourages families to attend events like the author visits. RAD has also invited the Doss preschool club, our future students, to attend these events, as well. RAD utilizes a student club to announce morning literacy messages to engender further student enthusiasm.

Creative resources like bulletin boards, banners, bookmarks, and costumes (‘super hero/mom’ capes, alligator hats, & character costumes) are all designed, created and/or maintained by volunteer parents.  RAD also collaborated with a local girl scout/ daisy troop who made cat costumes for an author event as they studied “helping others.”

All RAD programs require extensive talent and time commitments from our joint volunteer and library team. The biggest reward to our collaboration is witnessing the students get excited about books through listening, reading, writing, and illustrating.  Our students want to know….what is coming next from Read Across Doss!























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