Every once in a while, a mysterious box or glittery envelop arrives from a publisher. Inside is a beautifully packaged surprise like this:
Here is Scout enjoying the packaging of a new book entitled BLESSED by Tonya Hurley (Simon and Schuster). It came nestled in black curly filler material (which Scout loved to pull out and then pounce on) and a candle with intriguing text on it. And then there is the book tied with black twine that looks almost like barbed wire. Guess how far up the TBR stack this moved? Yes, packaging works. And that is what got me to thinking about today's post.
Last night, Donalyn Miller and I had a 3 hour dinner (the eating part did not take long at all but the conversation could have gone on all evening). We talked about our mutual concerns with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and mostly about what is missing from them: how to motivate kids to read and enjoy reading (which we agree is more critical than some of the other standards, but not to digress here now). So, how about using some of this clever packaging in the classroom or library? Nestle some books in RED tissue paper, include some bandaids (little round ones) and do a vampire themed package? Better yet, take an orphan book and re-package it.
What is an orphan book? One that sits on the shelf without much circulation. Many times the cover is less than riveting. How about packaging it? Give it a makeover. I do not have a problem advertising books or using advertising techniques to bring books and readers together. After all, what else are end caps in book stores? Cut out figures of authors? Promotions?
But think beyond packaging books, too. How do we package reading in our classrooms and libraries? Do we make it inviting? Can kids find good books readily? Is someone there to assist? I come back to Kylene Beers' "good book box" and my friend Lois' "for special readers only," and other clever ways teachers and librarians have packaged books to reach out to the ones who struggle finding that just right book (and by that i DO NOT mean following the convoluted and overly complicated methods CCSS suggests), the gateway book, the touchstone book. And I also flash back to last night when I got to listen to my friend Donalyn booktalk her favorites of the year. So, how will you use packaging as you return to your schools?