Publishers, pay attention. Schools need more bookmarks. Want to sell more books? Create bookmarks and send them free to schools when they purchase titles in a series (or even before purchase). Watch what happens when students get their hands on the bookmarks. They begin checking off what they’ve read and demand the next title on the bookmark. School librarians are powerless to resist the demands of students pleading for the purchase of the rest of a series. How can we say no when they show us they WANT to read?
Take Capstone Press’ new Pebble Plus series Military Branches. Being a faithful Army mom, I reviewed The U.S. Army by Matt Doeden. Written for the PreK-2 audience with a 1st grade reading level, this title is simple enough for the youngest of students to comprehend. Yet the title appeals to much broader reading levels.
My 16 and 19 year old sons were very interested in the photographs and studied them intently in case there were any mistakes. The teens and tweens at my school read diligently, discussed their own experiences with military dudes (their words, not mine), then decided that this series would be loved by third graders. When I suggested that I should donate this title to an elementary library, they realized they may never have the chance to see it again so they quickly pled the case for keeping these books on behalf of the struggling reader. They wouldn’t let them go.
Since these titles engendered such interest, I decided to create another bookmark for them to checkoff as they read the series. Upon their suggestion, I gave them the opportunity to indicate whether they liked it or not. Try out the bookmark to assess for yourself the impact upon students.
While you’re at it, you might want to click on this bookmark that shows the varying reading levels available through Capstone for topics such as levers, football, and spiders. I am passionate about providing a wide range of reading levels in nonfiction sections so all students can choose the appropriate book for them. I do NOT separate nonfiction based upon easy nonfiction, advanced nonfiction, etc. I want to have a library where students group together, discuss the topic, then each find an appropriate book in the same general location so all stigmas are removed. Reading occurs at the comfort level of the reader, not the teacher.