Connecting with authors via Twitter

I have attended quite a few of our Melbourne TeachMeets where I enjoy meeting and talking with other like-minded educators and I always come away inspired by the presenters. Until today I have never presented as I didn’t think I had anything really interesting to share. However, Celia Coffa (@ccoffa) encouraged me to simply ‘share my story’. So today I finally did…

As a teacher librarian, one of my favourite things about Twitter is that it has allowed me to connect with authors. I love reading about their latest books, following their book tours or what they might be writing about through #amwriting or simply enjoy reading their tweets. Some authors I follow and glean bits of information from their tweets and admire them from afar, but over the past couple of years I have connected with a few authors and even enjoy regular comments or chats with them. This naturally flows into my library classes and to our LRC Blog where I share tidbits of information with my students that in turn allows them to connect further with their favourite authors.

After connecting with Felice Arena (@fleech) on Twitter and hearing him talk at a Professional Development evening earlier this year I was inspired to use my Twitter account to tweet comments from each of our Year One classes to him about his new Sporty Kids series. The students loved the fact that Felice tweeted back almost immediately and I think Felice was thrilled to hear from his readers! We have continued to tweet with Felice as he has released new books in this series and the students feel as though they know him and love borrowing his books. 

Little did I know that this Twitter connection with Felice (and my love of AFL football) would also lead to connecting with authors Michael Wagner (@wagstheauthor) and Adrian Beck (@adrianjbeck) and being asked if they could trial their brand new show ‘Kicking Goals For Readers’  at our school! This fabulous performance in our hall filled with 530 excited students from P-6 was a highlight of our year with footy, books and reading sharing the limelight!

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, Adrian Beck returned the last week of term two to present me with a 2015 Indigenous football and suggested I might like to use it for a reading challenge. Before I knew it, Adrian had whipped out his phone to film a promo video for the “Yeo-low Medal”. This was to be our equivalent of the Brownlow Medal, but for the Best and Fairest Reader. I designed a Reading Scavenger Hunt based on a football field and the Yeo-low Medal was off and running with 205 students signing up. Adrian supported, encouraged and entertained us with videos along the way. Yesterday he came to school to draw the name of the winner and present our Yeo-low Medal. There were 57 students who had shown wonderful reading stamina over the term, hoping their name would be selected. Once again reading was the winner!

I am extremely grateful for the totally unexpected and amazing experiences that Twitter has brought our way and how it is a conduit that enables me as a teacher librarian to bring students, books and authors together…

This is my presentation for the TeachMeet with links to blog posts about ways we have connected with authors via Twitter…

Books to begin the year in our LRC

I’m cheating a little by copying this blog post from our LRC Blog, but thought it was also valuable to share here.  I have begun each year reading the same books to the Preps for a quite some time now.  These books help set the tone for our library, the importance and joy of reading and allow us to have fun with books. What is really lovely though is that they also provide a shared whole school experience that I witnessed last week when I overheard one of our Preps asking their Year 6 Buddy if they “eat words with their eyes’? Their Buddy replied “Has Miss Y read you Winston the Book Wolf?….

Each year I have some favourite stories I love to share with the Preps in the LRC at the beginning of the year. This year I’ve also shared them with the Year Ones because I wasn’t at school last year. What is lovely about this is that all of the students at our school know these stories…

I call this story an “oldie but a goodie” which means it’s an old book, but it is a great story and is lots of fun to read. It is called Walter’s Wand. Everyone enjoys waving their wands and saying Walter’s magic words as we read the story and see the tigers, pirates and oceans come to life in the library.  The best part is after people scan their books they use one of Miss Y’s wands to tap their book and say their magic word… and wait to see if their magic has worked when they read their book at home!

When everyone looks at the cover of Winston the Book Wolf they are surprised to see a wolf eating a book with his sharp teeth! Winston LOVES words but he thinks he has to eat books with his mouth to taste them. Luckily Rosie teaches Winston that he can still taste his words if he eats them with his eyes because “when you read you eat words with your eyes!”  Thank goodness our students do this or we would have lots of books in our library with big bites taken our of them!  

Everyone loves Charlie and Lola, especially Lola who is very funny! In this story But Excuse Me That Is My Book Lola has a favourite book called “Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies” that she loves and keeps borrowing from the library. However, this time she can’t find her book on the shelf and poor Charlie tries to help her find another book to borrow. Disaster happens when Lola sees somebody else borrowing her book and she has a bit of a tantrum in the beanbag (I am SO glad nobody has ever done this in our library!) Lola finally finds a new book to enjoy and reminds us that we borrow books from our library but we can’t keep them! You might like to watch it here

IMG_5218

We have two Library Lions in our library and the little one has a VERY big roar! In Library Lion everyone is surprised when a lion walks into the library one day.  Lion has come to listen to stories and he is allowed to stay as long as he is quiet.  Lion becomes a big help to Miss Merriweather, but when she gets hurt the only way he can get help is by roaring. Sadly Lion broke the rule and has to leave the library. There is always a hush when everyone sees how sad Lion looks standing outside the library in the rain and big smiles when the rules are changed for him to return. This is a great book to talk about rules in the library and to do some serious roaring in the LRC too!  You might like to watch it being read here

Which one of these stories is your favourite?