"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mock Printz Roll Out

 2013 Mock Printz

I rolled out Mock Printz at my school this week. So far 45 kids have signed up. Obviously, I need to purchase more copies of the books, which is a good thing! Here are the steps I use in preparation for the roll-out:

  1. Read. Read. Read. All books for the 2013 Printz award have to be published in the 2012. I read both School Library Journal and Booklist searching for YA books with starred reviews. I also pay attention to the YA books that the blogosphere is buzzing about. These help form the beginnings of my reading list. The other high school librarians and I share this reading list every time we meet and divide up the reading assignments.
  2. In September the three of us get together and choose the books for our list. We purposely leave some flex for books yet to be published. This year we decided to remove books from the list if the books just doesn't seem to measure up and add books that are generating buzz these next few months.
  3. Order books. As books come in I ask students from last year's Mock Printz teams to start reading them. One student has already read six of the books on the list because he takes his task of pre-reading the selections seriously.
  4. Contact the Public Library and let them know about the books on our list so they can be sure to get several copies of the books, too.
  5. Advertise dates of the roll-out event(s). This year I held two introduction meetings, one during Study Support, the other during student lunches.  I still missed some students that I think would like to participate. To prevent having to do 25 more one-on-one presentations I may host one more general introduction next week.
  6. Create paperwork: Powerpoint Presentation, contracts, and list of books for students.
  7. The Powerpoint presentation explains the Printz Award, our role as a "mock" Printz committee, how to read looking for literary excellence, how to sign up to be a member of the team, and a list of the books.
  8. If the students sign the contract they agree to read at least five of the books on the list; to return each book within two weeks or in a timely fashion; and they will attend the Mock Printz Workshop in January when we spend several hours pretending we are the actual committee, voting for our favorite YA book of the year.
  9. Create a spreadsheet of participants and books to keep track of which students have read what books. I use this spreadsheet (and make it available for my clerk) so we can figure out who gets the next book once one is checked in. It gets a little complicated but not too bad. I am very active in contacting students when a book is available. I communicate with students via little notices my TAs deliver to students in class.
  10. Keep reading. Of the eighteen books on our list this year I've currently read only 10. By January I'll have all of them read.
I know I make this sound complicated. But I highly recommend hosting a Mock Printz or Mock Newbery at your school.  It is so rewarding.  I get to know kids and will form relationships with them that last throughout their high school careers. Students are introduced to a variety of genres and writing styles that they wouldn't read if they weren't part of the team. Even kids who struggle to read five books in the three months feel good about their accomplishment and the workshop is fun!

It is not too late to start a Mock Printz team at your school.  My first year I just took someone else's list and used it. That removes the necessity of freaking out about how to read so many books to make your list.  Help yourself to our list HERE or do a Google search for Mock Prtintz 2013. Several other folks have published their lists already, too.  Have fun.

Feel free to contact me at school if you want a copy of my Powerpoint or any of my handouts.  I'm fine with sharing. abennett(AT)bethelsd(DOT)org

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