Do you run a Lone Star reading program at your library? Tell us about it!

Handout from 2012 TLA Annual Conference with quick links to Lone Star Resources

Program Ideas

I do a reading program with the books. For every book a student reads, I put a die-cut star on the wall with their name and the book title. Our goal is to reach around the library by the end of the year. Students who read at least 5 books are invited to an ice cream party in May. (Lori Loranger, Walsh Middle School, Round Rock ISD)

On a district level, the middle schools are using Schooled for our Read-It-Forward program. Each school purchased 75-100+ copies of the book and then put them around the school. Students are supposed to read the book, sign the inside cover, and then pass it on to a friend. Each school has had a variety of activities from tie-dying sessions to making friendship bracelets. Gordon Korman is visiting our district in January, so the kids get a chance to hear him speak and get autographed books. (Lori Loranger, Walsh Middle School, Round Rock ISD)

Jennifer Smith, Lone Star Chair 2007-2009:
I sent out a request to the Young Adult Round Table List for info on how librarians use Lone Star. The responses are posted below.

At the beginning of the year I handed out a list of the books, showed the students how to navigate on the website through txla, and then challenged all students to read all 20 books by May of 2009. Any student who read all twenty books and scored at least a 70 percent on a test about the book will be put in a drawing to win an I-Touch.

Lauri York, Librarian -- Westover Park Junior High, Canyon ISD

How do you use the Lone Star list? I use it to encourage my middle school students to read some really great books!
Are there any titles that got a great or unique response from your patrons? Because of Hurricane Ike, we received an overwhelming response for Dark Water Rising. The Wednesday Wars was on our summer reading list and is also used for Pentathlon, so it was constantly checked out.
Do you have any good experiences to share about using Lone Star in your library? I see my students every other week, and we talk about my challenge to myself to read all 20 and my challenge to them to read at least 10 for the year. I have set up a blog that the students are encouraged to participate on. I offer a free poster from time to time, and the teachers offer extra credit to blog postings that are worthy. My students are very excited about the challenge and so am I!

Jo Martin, Librarian -- Keefer Crossing Middle School, New Caney ISD

Since I'm in high school now, I don't push the list like I did in junior high. However, I remember some students who really enjoyed the lists. The librarian before me and I both had what we called a Lone Star luncheon at a local Mexican restaurant at the end of the year; anyone who had read at least 5 books could attend, and those who read all 20 received an autographed copy from the list. (This included staff, and we usually had at least 3 attend.) Without fail, at least half would read all 20. The smallest group I ever took was 25; the largest was 60. Michelle Carter -- Lamar CHS, Rosenberg, TX

I'm the YA Librarian at Waco-McLennan County Library. We serve about 50,000 card holders. My teen collection includes all titles from the Lonestar list as a matter of course. We sticker them (and the Tayshas and TTT, and one or two other lists). They circulate very well. I'm not sure if it is the stickers, or if the kids just like the selected books! Starting last year, the local school district (Waco ISD) has begun a "battle of the books" program; they use the current Lonestar list as their resource for this challenge contest between the middle schools; each school buys the books, has the team read as many as they can, and then the kids compete to answer as many questions correctly as they can. Last year wasa very successful program; I served as an assistant, a quiz builder, and as official timekeeper/scorer. I'll do the same this year and we hope the program will grow each year.

Gillian Wiseman -- Waco-McLennan County Library

I wasn’t sure if you wanted a public librarian’s perspective but I do purchase Lone Star titles. I get the new list as soon as it is published and check to see if we own the titles. If not, I purchase the titles that we don’t already own. I use the Lone Star books while visiting schools to help promote the public library. In particular this year I spoke to 7th graders at Barbara Bush Middle School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD book talking Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale. Since the book is about the great Galveston flood it was an opportunity to tie into their curriculum of Texas history. We also have a lot of Katrina refugees so I used the book to speak to the students about similarities in their situation and the situation from Galveston. Many of the students immediately checked out the book.
In a broader sense my visit at Barbara Bush Middle School allowed the students to get to know me and many of them now come up and talk to me here at the library. So the Lone Star list helped build a bridge between the school and the library.

Jennifer Shelly -- Irving Public Library

As a high school librarian with grades 9-12, I typically only buy the Lone Star books that are recommended at a “Best Young Adult Books” type workshop before TLA (and I missed Region IVs this December) and those book-talked during TLA. I usually keep them and the Tayshas books on a special counter so that I can keep better track of their use. This year they are just out on the new book shelves.
Carolyn Stephenson -- Huffman ISD

We have BIG fun with the Lone Stars at Rice.
  • First, as soon as I get the next year's list I have my 7th & 8th grade book club kids pull all that we already own and start reading them. I order whatever I'm lacking and sequester all the 09-10 (for now) LSs in my office. The BC kids LOVE having exclusive access. We discuss them at meetings and online in a discussion board. In addition to the normal book discussion kind of comments I ask them to give me "age advisories" particularly in terms of our incoming 6th grade population. This year I'll ask them to do book trailers and/or alternate covers for books they feel need them.

I noted that BC responds to age appropriateness. About April I ask the kids to start deciding which books will be the best "starters" for incoming 6th graders (we are a 6-8 school). They have lively discussions and we finally settle on the 5 (or so) most likely titles to appeal to and be appropriate for our youngest readers. I make a LS book mark and change the font color to maroon on those. Every year I do a pre-orientation visit to my feeder elementaries to start adjusting their thinking to middle school library expectations and services. My last piece is to talk to them about the LS list, give them a book mark, talk about the maroon titles being the "recommendations of 7th and 8th grade book clubs" and suggesting that they start with those if they want to read over the summer. At Rice, 7th and 8th graders are allowed to come to the library during their lunch by asking permission of the caf monitors. 6th graders are not allowed to leave the caf. So, I allow 6th graders to earn a "Lone Star Lunch Pass" by reading the books, shading in the star in front of the title on the book mark and bringing it to me. I give them a pass, date the title on the book mark, and return it to them. They can earn up to 15 passes to use during the year whenever they want. I limit it to 15 because I don't want to encourage them to read through all 20 just to get passes when I know that they won't like or be mature enough for all the titles. It gives me the opportunity to discuss making personal decisions about books that are interesting and appropriate, etc.

Donna MacKinney, Librarian -- Rice Middle School Library

This year I made a 1.5 min video featuring the covers on and shared it with all of my students during their class library time.
Also, this year, we’re taking a reading promotion from the Upstart catalog “Read Like a Rockstar” and doing a Lonestar promotion with it. This year, at our school, (we’ll likely change it up for next year if this program is successful) the students read a Lonestar book to receive a punchcard. Then they receive another punch for every other book (doesn’t have to be Lonestar) they read throughout the school year. When their card is full, they get on the guest list for our end of the year Guitar Hero party.
So far, the students have been so enthusiastic about it, I’ve had to allow Lonestar books from past years to count IF they read them this year, because I can’t keep this year’s book on the shelf.
Liessa Kimball -- La Vernia ISD

We have scheduled time with our middle schoolers, so we give an in-depth book talk on all the Lone Stars with them year round, 2-3 at a time.
We also have a reading incentive program, if a student reads all twenty we will give them a trophy at years end. We let them select up to 5 previous year Lone Stars, so they don’t have to read books that really don’t appeal to them.
Laura Leib-- Grace School