What makes you sparkle?


This week’s library message.

I heard someone on a podcast during the week mention ‘something that makes you sparkle’ and so this week my students were challenged with this as they entered the library. I would love to have promoted the message more in library lessons, and I wondered whether students would perhaps find some books that ‘made them sparkle’ (or perhaps some sparkly books?). But alas, it didn’t turn out to be that sort of week, there were lots of technical problems to deal with, discipline issues to deal with, and a day off class for me to be trained in Oliver. Perhaps another time …

Those LED stars are among the most versatile display items I ever bought. I don’t bother to light up my signboard, but I don’t mind turning on those stars for a week.

So, what makes me sparkle? These days it’s:

  • sunshine
  • watercolouring
  • being a teacher librarian

What makes you sparkle?


Slow reading

Photo: James West via Flickr

As I scan loans out for students, noting who’s borrowing books, and who isn’t, I wonder how much these children are actually comprehending the books they are reading; how some children can read so much in a week; why some children won’t borrow books at all; and why some boys, who I know are struggling readers, are attracted to the biggest, heaviest thickest books in the library (usually found in the reference section).

These are mysteries I hope to solve at some point.

I know as a child I read voraciously, but I skimmed over the “boring” bits, such as any wordy description, and focused on the dialogue. I worked my way through Enid Blyton and Laura Ingalls Wilder, Elizabeth Enright and L.M.Montgomery, K.M.Peyton and Noel Streatfeild. (My favourite memories of reading these books include Easter eggs and glasses of milk, all consumed at high speed along with the books, stretched out on a beanbag in my bedroom). It’s only when I read these books again (and again) as I grew older that I appreciated these books fully through reading all the words. Funnily enough they made much more sense when I read slowly and carefully. In fact, it’s a wonder the books made any sense to me at all, the way that I read them back then. On the other hand, it’s a sign of good writing that books that I still love the books now that I enjoyed reading at breakneck speed at 9-10 years of age. That good storytelling has engaged me in both reading modes.

I just read this great article about reading speed, fluency and comprehension. Cindy L.Rodriguez says “comprehension is key” when it comes to reading. One part of my job that I love is helping students comprehend the books we read together. I give them pointers to understanding the writing style, the historical or geographical context, the visual literacy techniques and the intricacies of the story, but they also help me comprehend the stories too, because, as it turns out, in the rush of day-to-day teaching, I sometimes read those stories too quickly, until I read them aloud to a class. I don’t spend moments looking at each illustration, as my students do while I hold the book before them, and I don’t read with the wonder and fresh eyes of a child.

I still need to slow down.

I still need to read all the words.

It’s not a race, Fiona.

It’s a book.

Read and returned


This week I’ve been promoting an upcoming competition I’ve named The Secret Slushy Party Competition to encourage certain Yr 4-6 classes (and boys in particular) to read more and to improve their borrowing & returning habits. Today I was explaining to a Yr 6 class that I’ll be counting the books that are returned, with random checks/questions to see if they are actually reading them.  I talked about this for a few minutes and then summed up by saying that I was counting the books that were read and returned. (Because, hello, I’m not counting books that are borrowed, perhaps never to be returned!)

The Yr 6 boys were quite excited about the idea of the competition, and rushed off to find books. At last, I thought, I’ve got some real interest happening. A few minutes later I looked over to see a table covered with books they had selected to borrow, and boys avidly checking and comparing their piles … then I noticed that the books they’d selected were all RED.

Because I did say that the books had to be “red and returned”!!!

Absolutely hilarious. Thankfully I had one observant boy who had listened to share the joke with, he and I laughed for a long time. And it’s no coincidence that he is my star student librarian.

Eventually the rest of the boys understood that they didn’t have to read RED books (but I notice they borrowed most of them, anyway 😉 )


Round #1 to me!

Back to school 2017

IMG_5157.JPGSchool began for students this week.

This is how I greeted them in the library. I loved this little “bookworm” from the Reject Shop, I’ll have to make him a little book. (Cactus also from the Reject Shop, and the lightbox from KMart).

It’s strange to be back in the library again for the second year, everything feels the same, but different. Same kids, in different combinations. Same me, but this time with a year of experience behind me.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the year holds. For one thing, I’ll be studying Teacher Librarianship at CSU, which might change everything I do.

Christmas in the Library


For Christmas in the school library I used a small tree from home and decorated it with lights, pom poms, jingle bells and silver beads.

My favourite ornaments were the ones I made from pages of an old Little Golden Book, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, (which I photocopied – despite owning two copies of the book, one I’d found at a thrift store specifically to use for craft,  I still couldn’t bring myself to cut up a book). I stuck diecut circles onto red scalloped circles, and called it done.

I also made some teensy-tiny miniature Christmas books which you might just be able to make out. These turned out to be a bit too small for the scale of the tree, so perhaps next Christmas I’ll create some larger ones.

Wintry Window


This was the winter window I created for winter 2016. I used a lot of different dies, and embossed a brick pattern onto the house walls. Hanging above the poster were some diecut snowflakes and LED star-shaped fairy lights.

Best of all, children could peek through the house window and see into the library.

Weeks after I made it, I was still wondering what the correct Australian spelling was – cosy or cozy? I think it should have been cosy, but it was too hard to pull off the multiple layers of card I’d stuck to the window by the time I’d figured that out. I blame too much time spent on Pinterest.

And if only I could get rid of that security sticker ….