Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our top ten lists - What SCSD kids are reading

At Lakeview, Ripley's Believe It or Not dominates the list. This makes some teachers and parents uncomfortable. Why aren't they reading the good literature? But the truth is, many kids love nonfiction - especially stories about the bizarre and weird. They gather round those books and read the captions to each other, pointing at the images. It isn't that they aren't reading our award winning selections, it is just that across the board, lower level, girls and boys, excellent readers and struggling readers - they all love the Ripley's books.

Jeff Kinney does pretty well too with his Wimpy Kid series. We currently have over 30 holds attached to our 6 copies. 

You can thank Mrs Day for the inclusion of "Big Pumpkin". Her spirited and memorable reading to the kindergarteners (actually it is more of a performance) makes it a year-round favorite. 

Speaking of weird, "Night of the Living Gerbil" features a weird science store with a weird owner and it has tops the SMS list. 

Several of these titles are in the top 20 year after year, including "Night of the Twisters" and "Shiloh". "Eragon" was pumped up by the long awaited release of the 5th book in the series, "Inheritance". 

A surprising entry might be "Friday Night Lights" but it has been popular with upper level readers, mostly male, for many years as well. It is not strictly a book about football, it is more a sociological study of the Texas community where the team played. Getting through that books is really a significant reading achievement. We love discussing the book with them.

In fact, the phrase, " come talk to me about that book when you are done" or a variation upon that is almost always attached to a book checkout. Mrs Bishop is a voracious reader (okay - the truth is that she can speed read) and has an in-depth knowledge of the collection, an invaluable asset for the school.

Circulation at the high school is a bit more reserved, but the are still front runners. "Banished" is a gritty, fast-paced story that appeals to our "Hunger Games" fans. And the inclusion of "Black Holes"? That can be credited to students writing research papers.

It is so fun to see Amanda Hocking on the list, since we discovered her through a fascinating article in the New York Times Book Review. She has been writing non-stop since she was a teen, and did it "backwards" - becoming a best-selling author of e-books before being courted by the big guys, specifically St Martins Press.

"Forever" by Judy Blume was published in 1975, but with a new cover, it is still relevant and a book that is passed around, mostly by girls.

After readers have torn through the "Hunger Games" series, they often move on to "Graceling" and "Fire" is a prequel. 

Mrs Clingerman does a wonderful job of connecting readers with the right books. A good problem this year though is that we have so many new, great books that we can't keep up.

It has been a great reading year so far and we hope every one will get some reading in over the holiday break!


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