O.S.C.A.R.: Our School cares About Reading - and what a difference it makes!
by Bradley Noble, Wunderlich Intermediate Librarian (Klein ISD)
Wunderlich Intermediate was ready for a change…A BIG CHANGE: one that would impact everyone within our 4 walls; one that would create a CULTURE of READERS among the entire school (students and staff alike); one that would instill a LOVE of reading while increasing our STAAR scores in the process! And so, on one hot August afternoon, at a library conference table with one principal, one librarian, one ELA Specialist, one department chair and data manager, the journey began and OSCAR (Our Students Care About Reading) was born!
We presented a proposal to the Klein Education Foundation and were thrilled to receive a $25,000 Lead the Spark Grant; $20,000 was used to purchase books and the other $5,000 would be used for the OSCAR ceremony. We also received an additional $50, 000 in Title 1 funds to help supplement the variety and number of books in both classrooms and library. Watch this overview.
|An O.S.C.A.R. favorite|
We purchased separate titles for each grade level and placed 4 copies of each in every ELA and Math class, which are blocked classes. Students choose a book they like and are then given 15 minutes of independent reading. Upon completing their books, they fill out a summary sheet and if interested, sign up for an O.S.C.A.R. club. In these clubs they may create book trailers, digital or hand drawn art, costumes, or create music or songs to go with a book. Their purpose with these projects is to persuade others to read the book as well.
With the $5000 from the grant, donations and sponsorships from community members, we have a spectacular celebration in May. We give awards for the best book trailer (EX: Best SciFi trailer) in each genre, best script, best costume, etc. Since teachers are also encouraged to read the books as well, we also have a category for best teacher book trailer. We have had over 400 book trailers submitted over the past three years. Winners receive an OSCAR statue and the Best Overall Student and Best Teacher winners also receive an iPad. Some student’s try out for the talent portion of the show and get to do a performance that is related to one of the books. This is a favorite part of the program for all of us.
The results of this program have been amazing!! To begin with, we have students and teachers clamoring for OSCAR books! They are now discussing books they have both read and enjoyed; this interaction has literally opened up the doors of communication between students and staff. And yes, our STAAR scores did go up…each year!
As a librarian I am thrilled that so many students and teachers are actively reading quality literature. I love talking to both of them about books they have read and encourage them to give me suggestions on books to purchase for the library. I feel very fortunate that I was given an opportunity to be part of such a wonderful program at Wunderlich.