No Reading Aloud Until 4th Grade!






Don’t let the title alarm you! I’m all for reading aloud starting at an early age and continuing to read aloud even as students get older. You will see why fourth grade in just a few seconds. : )

March 5, 2014 is World Read Aloud Day.  The wonderful event is hosted by LitWorld.  I plan to celebrate with my students for the entire week starting Monday, March 3.  To help me mentally prepare I am participating in the World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge hosted by Matthew Winner  a.k.a. The Busy Librarian.

Here is my entry for week one!

Week 1: February 10 – 16

What is your earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud to you?

My mother was a teacher, I know we had books at home (I still have some of our favorites from when I was little) and I know she and my dad read to me when I was little, but for the life of me my earliest memory of being read aloud to is my fourth grade teacher!  This is one reason why this post has taken me most of the week to finally write.  I kept racking my brain trying to remember bedtime rituals, favorite read alouds…nothing!  Sorry mom and dad.  Maybe it was so common when I was young that my brain didn’t think it was that important to hold on to. I’m not sure.  So leaving the guilt behind, here is my earliest and one of my fondest memories of being read aloud to.

In fourth grade my teacher read The Borrowers by Mary Norton.  In case you don’t know the story:

This is the classic story–read and loved by children all over the world–of Pod, Homily, and their daughter, Arrietty, who live under the kitchen floor in a quiet, half-empty house and get their livelihood by borrowing from the “human beans.” “Delectable fantasy.”–Booklist

I loved hearing my teacher read this book aloud to us.  I have vivid memories of sitting at my desk, swinging my feet back and forth in excitement waiting to hear what was going to happen to the tiny family. And goodness, when Arrietty allows herself to be seen by the boy who just moved in… well, I can’t give it away but for fourth grade me it was exciting stuff to be sure!

One of my favorite memories of reading aloud was when I was the reader.  Early in our marriage, I was on vacation with my husband and was rereading Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card for about the millionth time.  I kept wanting to tell him about the story and and since he was a captive audience, I started reading the book aloud to him while he drove.  There were some days of our trip that we would miss exits or sit in the parking lot because we would get so wrapped up in the story and didn’t want to stop.  Even though he could have taken over and finished the book by himself, he continued to let me read it aloud to him. (that’s one reason why I love him) I have read Ender’s Game a couple more times since then but I always remember sitting in the car reading aloud while we cruised down the interstate.

This year I will be connecting 20 times with other schools for World Read Aloud Day.  I am still working out the details with my friends about what story to read and how to share, but I know we are going to have a great time.  If you haven’t planned anything yet, and need some inspiration check out LitWorld’s webpage World Read Aloud Day Activities.

Help us “raise our voices” to celebrate reading aloud!


April is a Busy Month

April is a busy month and I couldn’t be more excited!  Since I have started using Twitter for my PLN my eyes have been opened to all kinds of fun projects and activities to do.  So in addition to state testing and formal observations that I have this month, I plan to:

1. Participate in Matthew Winner’s (@MatthewWinner aka The Busy Librarian) Shelf Challenge 2013.  I let Matthew assign me an easy section to read and lucky me got the “S” section.  I looked over my shelf list to start planning and saw there is a little over 500 books!  After I cleared out the multiple copies I have 400 titles to read.  I plan to start right away on Monday.  If  I only read on school days I need to average 18 to 19 books a day.  There are some great titles I’m looking forward to reading again and I’m excited to find some lost treasures.  Be sure to check back as I will post photos and update my progress.

2. April is School Library Month Plans are in progress for this, some ideas include:

  • Hide Post-it notes inside of several library books, when a student checks out one of these special books they receive a prize.
  • Treats for teachers who encourage check-out.
  • Announce on the morning show which grade level had the highest circulation for the previous day.
  • Give out prizes at faculty meetings to the teacher(s) with the highest circulation.
  • Have an library themed estimation station at the circulation desk. Students can enter the contest each time they checkout a book.
  • Allow students to check out more books at a time
  • Book mark contest
  • School wide door decorating contest

3. It is Poetry Month, we will be sharing poetry all month on the morning show and in my lessons with kindergarten.  We will also participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day, Thursday April 18.  I am looking forward to connecting with other schools through Skype to read poems together. I am also going to attempt to create some Book Spine Poems.  I plan to use it as a display and maybe get some of my library pages to try and create some during one of their shifts.


This is going to be a fun, busy month and I can’t wait for it to start!

Okle : )

Social Media is Great!

I didn’t use twitter much before this school year but I have been dipping my toes into the twitter stream and it feels nice.  I unfollowed most of the fluff and starting following school librarians, tech educators and other book lovers.  This had been great for my teaching and my library.

You can learn so much and connect with so many people.  I found out about World Read Aloud Day which is March 6.  I reached out to a my new twitter friend Shannon McClintock Miller, from Iowa, about Skyping read alouds with our students.  She graciously agreed and we have been emailing and tweeting plans that included a live pig at the read aloud!  It has been so much fun.


Remember back when we were little and you would write to an author? You usually had to send it in care of the publisher and hope that the author would actual receive it.  Well twitter and Facebook make this so easy.  At home today, in the familiar Amazon box, was Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier. I started reading it and Audrey instantly came over to see, I read it again from the beginning to her and then she took it from me.  She spent the next 45 minutes reading it over and over to herself.  It was so sweet to see.  I took a photo of her and I don’t think she even realized she was so focused on the book.

I posted the photo to twitter and then went to share it on Facebook too.  As I was typing in the author’s name it highlighted the way it does when they have a Facebook account.  After I double checked to make sure I wasn’t linking up some other random Jesse Klausmeier, (cause you never know) I posted the photo.  To my surprise the second comment was from Ms. Klausmeier herself!  She also answered my original tweet. She then offered to send Audrey a signed bookplate!  How cool it that!!  I love the quickness of twitter and Facebook.

Social media opens up so many ways for us to connect outside of our school and I can’t wait to dive more into the stream!


Happy Reading!

Okle Miller

State Conferences Matter


I went to my state conference,  FAME this past week.  I had a really good time and connected with some great people.  Not all of my friends were able to go this year, but I haven’t missed a conference since I became a librarian. Here are my reasons for never missing your state conference:


It’s fun to get away from school sometimes.

It’s true, going to a conference is still getting to go on a trip.  I don’t normally stay at a Hilton and eat at high end, nice restaurants  it’s usually Motel6 and McDonald’s, so this is a treat each year.

You can hear some great speakers, like Shannon Miller and Buffy Hamilton

 This year my conference had exceptional keynote and closing speakers.  That might not be the case every year, but usually one or the other has something you can take back with you.  Like I said, this year was super great and I made sure I was on time for the opening session with Shannon Miller and I stayed to the last second to make sure I didn’t miss hearing Buffy Hamilton.

You learn some new ways to engage your students.

You can always find some sessions were you can pick up new tips and tricks.  I learned to manage my social media better (thanks Shannon) and some great ideas for implementing book clubs that I hadn’t considered before. 

You learn what you were already doing is the right thing.

 Sometimes you don’t learn anything new in a session.  While you might think it was a waste of time, I like to stay positive and see it as validation that what I am doing with my students is right.  If another school librarian in a different part of the state is doing things the way I’m doing them, then we are both brilliant! 

 Session and workshops are great, but sometimes the most insight comes from lunch.

Session and workshops are great but sometimes the most insight comes from lunch.  That’s right lunch, when we are all looking for a table and you end up at a table with new peers.  The first day we sat with  author Christina Gonzalez, who was a delight.  The next day, Michelle Harclerode, sat down next to me and we had a great conversation about her wonderful book trailers and how things are in her district.

You realize the maybe things are not so bad at your school or district after all.

Getting to meet and talk with school librarians from around the state can really open your eyes.  We still have a certified school librarian in each of our schools elementary through high school.  After talking to others I am starting to realize how lucky we are in our district. I may not have a clerk for help,  but my students still have me and I’m glad I have one school to go to each day.


You get to meet face to face with your PLN peeps.

I follow Shannon Miller on twitter and read her blog so I was really excited that she was the keynote speaker this year.  She was also presenting a workshop that I got to attend.  It was great that she just didn’t speak and leave. I was able to really talk to her and make a connection.  She has had a big impact on my professional development and getting to connect with her in person has made it all that much better.

You realize you are not alone.

We spend much of our time professionally by ourselves.  The teachers at school may like you and support you but that don’t always “get” you.  “You have the be here for conference night?”, “You are so lucky, you get to read books all day”  Even connecting with your library peeps on school email isn’t that same as getting to spend three days together.  To really get to talk and pick each other’s brains is priceless.

When it is time for your state conference do whatever you have to do to be able to go.  You won’t regret it. : )



RSS Feeds

I have been spending time reading on twitter and checking out many blogs and websites of the people I follow.  I am still old school in my browsing and was bookmarking my sites.  Atleast I am using Chrome and syncing so my bookmarks follow me from home to school.  But since some blog sites are still blocked at school I went back to all the sites I found and added them to my Google Reader.  Now I should be able to read post in Google Reader even if the blog site itself is blocked at school.

I’m hoping too that using Google Reader will make my online time more effective.  There is so much to read and take in.  I want to develop my PLN but not feel overwhelmed.  Google Reader should help.