Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Barb Langridge, a Maryland media specialist who is passionate about connecting kids with books. Barb spoke at a Frederick County Reading Council event, which was followed by local media specialists sharing some new recommendations for kids.
Barb’s mission is to put the right books in kids’ hands at the right times. She does this by asking, “Who is the reader?” Not just on the surface, but who are you really as a reader? What scares you? What are your hopes? How do you make your decisions? What has caused you pain, and what are you moving toward in life?
Barb has developed the website http://www.abookandahug.com to provide teachers with a tool to get to know their students as readers and to make recommendations that match kids’ interests. When kids visit the website for the first time, they can take a quiz to find out what types of readers they are. Barb has provided two names within each type- one that boys might identify with and one that might be more appealing to girls.
Type 1- Belonger/ Connector; Heart/Home/Friends Forever
Type 2- Seeker; Joan of Arc
Type 3- Jokester; Wild Thing
Type 4- Answerman; Investigator/Analyst
Kids can then search for books through the site by the reading type they identify with as well as by topic, age, etc. Barb provided some information about each reading type that got us thinking about the differences between teacher and student preferences. 38% of students identify with the first reading type. They favor order, structure, hierarchy, and tradition. These readers might prefer historical fiction or a story focused on the relationships between characters. Barb has found that 12% of readers identify as the Seeker/ Joan of Arc type. These readers have huge hearts and want to know how to make the world a better place. Barb shared that 38% of readers identify as the third reading type: Jokesters/ Wild Things. The kids who identify with the fourth type are consistently asking, “What if?” They seek answers.
Barb cautioned that our own reading types can influence what we choose for our students. We need to make conscious efforts to promote all types of books in our classrooms.
Barb was passionate about supporting student reading, and her message was uplifting to teachers who are facing the final part of the school year and could use that extra bit of inspiration.
Following Barb’s presentation, media specialists from local schools shared books with the participants. Some examples are pictured below. I hope you can find a book that might interest someone your know! The book is in your court…