The annual conference of the Massachusetts School Library Association
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Monday, May 8 • 2:30pm - 3:30pm
IdeaLab Table 02: Cast Away Traditional Summer Reading...or, How to Survive the First Month of Middle School

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Research indicates that a robust summer reading program can help mitigate the “summer slide.” Research also suggests that independent reading is more successful when students have a choice in selecting their books. With this in mind, Concord Middle School library staff designed an innovative summer reading program that incorporated choice and fun - and supported our efforts to build a community of readers at our middle school.      Throughout the summer, students submitted creative projects on books they read (book trailers, artwork, original songs, poems, etc.) via our library website.The incentive? Every project submitted earned points.     Our summer reading website had over 16,000 views. Project submissions included 120+ book trailers, 240 pieces of art, 50 movie posters; 40+ timelines, and 35+ podcasts, 250+ book reviews. Participation exceeded our expectations!    Inspired by Talia Squires, winner of the 2015 Follett Challenge and her “Conquest of the Realm” game, we created our own community-building survival game to follow the summer reading. The summer points were used to start The Game (Concord Castaways: A Page Turning Survival Adventure!) in September. The Game was a four week survival adventure in which homeroom teams competed to “escape the island” by exchanging points for challenge cards.  Students added to their summer reading points by completing tasks and solving puzzles that combined teamwork and critical thinking, and which took them to all academic areas.  Not only did the students have fun, The Game provided a wonderful vehicle for new students to acclimate to a new school.    Our presentation would include an anecdotal summary of our ideas in building the reading program and ensuing game, as well as sharing the technology platforms and set up we used to communicate with students and families during the summer, collect digital project submissions, and run Concord Castaways in the fall.


Bonnie Echmalian

Library Assistant, Concord Middle School
I have been an assistant librarian at Concord Middle School for 5 years. I enjoy sharing my love of reading and engaging with the middle school audience.

Elizabeth Stockwood

Library Media Specialist, Concord Middle School
I have been the Library Media Specialist at Concord Middle School for 9 years. I enjoy combining elements of an M.A. in Children's Literature with an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology to create an innovative approach to engage middle school students.

Monday May 8, 2017 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT
Hyannisport East & West 2nd Floor