5 ways to engage students with the School Library Pack from BookTrust

Published on: 26 March 2018 Author: Lucas Maxwell

Looking for new ideas to make the most of your School Library Pack? Here are five ways that School Librarian of the Year Lucas Maxwell has been sharing the books and resources with his students at Glenthorne High School.

They’re keen to chat to other schools about the books too, so why not get involved on social media #SchoolLibraryPack?

And if you'd like to know more about this free reading for pleasure programme for Year 7 students, then do take a look at what's inside the BookTrust School Library Packs

Food and Flipgrid

To help launch the School Library Pack with the Booklings, I made homemade brownies – because any School Librarian worth their weight in bookmarks knows that food is the best way to get students involved in a lunchtime programme.

Once properly fed, we took 20 minutes to go over the books, read the blurbs and the first few chapters. They then used Flipgrid (an amazing video sharing tool you should be using right now) to tell us which book they chose and why. It’s lots of fun and it gets books into the hands of the students.

Spread messages of wellbeing 

To celebrate Wellbeing Week, I asked the Booklings to write messages on revision cards and hide them in the School Library Pack books. BookTrust helpfully provides multiple copies of some titles so you can put them on display and on the shelves. I also promote and book-talk the copies that have the hidden messages to Year 7 and 8 students in library lessons, ensuring they get checked out.

One student approached me and asked what she should do with the card, which said, 'Don’t Worry, It’ll Be Ok'. I asked her how it made her feel, and she said it was nice. I asked her if she wanted to write something herself on the card – she did. I let her write it without me watching over her shoulder but it made me really happy to see that she was spreading more messages of kindness through the book. It’s an easy way to make someone’s day.

Host a twitter chat to discuss the books

The Booklings are the hosts of a very popular Twitter chat called #BooklingsChat where they ask authors different questions. In March, we talked to three of the many authors featured in the School Library Pack: Jenny McLachlan, Jess Butterworth and Anne Cassidy. Hosting a Twitter chat is an exciting way to get loads of people discussing these great books beyond the school library. Check out their answers through the hashtags #BooklingsChat and #SchoolLibraryPack.

Reimagine book covers using AutoDraw

AutoDraw might be my new favourite ed-tech tool. It takes the clunky act of drawing using a mouse and turns it into something actually enjoyable by predicting what you’re trying to draw. For example, if you draw a plain circle, it brings up a list of possible things like footballs, planets, lightbulbs, and so on.

The Booklings created new book covers using this program, resulting in some great modern art representations and some more… abstract pieces. The students were in hysterics coming up with different possibilities. Warning: it is very hard to keep the students focused on the task at hand with this program, but it’s a lot of fun, too.

Reach out to other schools

We know that the School Library Pack is used by thousands of schools, so the Booklings are reaching out to other book clubs to see if they want to discuss their favourites. We could do this via Flipgrid, Padlet, Skype, or discussing them over Twitter. Whatever we choose, I cannot wait to find out what other students, teachers and librarians think about these great books!

If you are a book club interested in discussing the School Library Pack, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @lucasjmaxwell or email me at lml@glenthorne.sutton.sch.uk.

Find out more about the School Library Pack

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