Monday, January 4, 2016

Fairs Not Just for Science

In a world of testing, progress monitoring and many more assessment demands, educators can begin to worry that students today are not developing a love of reading. Like any good library media specialist, I spend countless hours on Pinterest looking for exciting lesson plans, engaging library activities, fun decorating ideas, and anything that would spark a love of reading. Two years ago I found a pin about a reading fair, a fun twist on the traditional science fair.  With some research and input from classroom teachers, we decided it would be a great idea for my school community.  

The ideal of a reading fair was met with excitement by our teachers, students and parents.  We transformed our annual Spring Open House where parents and students typically visit classrooms to look at recent student work into a new Spring Into an Open Book Night.  Students were challenged to create a display of their favorite book. Parents and students were excited to peruse the displays and were inspired to read the books that had suddenly come to life off the shelves of our library.  

Instructions to students and parents clearly identified that our goal was to give students a chance to share one of their favorite books with the rest of the school in a creative way. The Reading Fair also gave students an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the parts of a book and the components of a story.  Students were asked to be use tri-fold boards with information about the book either typed or handwritten and were encouraged to be bright, colorful with neat illustrations. Students had help from their teachers in choosing an appropriate book that they could read in a relatively short time, a book they have already read, or, for our kindergarten students, one they have read with the assistance of their parents.  For more information about how to develop a Reading Fair at your school, contact Erin Glover at

Mrs. Erin Glover is a native of New York but moved to North Carolina in 1995 to attend UNC Chapel Hill.  After graduating from Chapel Hill she relocated to Jacksonville,  North Carolina. She served as the media assistant at Northwoods Elementary in Jacksonville, North Carolina until 2009 when she became the media specialist at Jacksonville Commons Middle School and then Carolina Forest International Elementary where she currently works.