Our school is unique in that our students are fluent readers. Of course, we all need to have broad and varied choices of quality literature. Our school library provides the place where students have available recently published books with compelling stories. Students relish reading promotions and delight in meeting new characters and sharing interesting plots. It is not uncommon for students to have favorite authors, to suggest different titles, and to share their enjoyment for the written word. Choice is important, but difficult to maintain in a school with limited funds. This project enables our students to keep up with the latest in children's literature and to hone their reading skills and, thus, their thinking skills.
Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Awards (PYRCA) gets students invested in their reading choices and exposes them to new and interesting titles. Each year, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania sponsors this student-centered reading activity. Students have the opportunity to nominate recently published books for the annual list as well as participating as readers selecting their favorite titles from four different levels. PYRCA has become a tradition at our school, funded almost entirely through Donorschoose.org. Our students look forward to reading the choices, discussing and picking their favorites, and celebrating the winners. Students receive recognition for participating in the activity, keep up with the newest and best books, and share their love of reading with their classmates. PYRCA titles become books students can booktalk or write about. In the spring, the library becomes a voting booth where they can choose their favorite. When the state winners are announced--the winning authors are acknowledged at the Pennsylvania Association of School Librarians Conference--our students attend a "gala affair" and toast the winners with apple cider. Yearly events such as these are what help students look forward to making school a comfortable place. Looking to the students to declare the best boosts their self esteem. Having quality and diversified literature in our school library benefits everyone.
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