New York Times Bestselling author Aaron Reynolds helped Lincoln Trail kick of Celebrate Reading week Friday as he spoke to students about the components of writing a mystery.
After reviewing past author visits which included poetry, nonfiction, fiction and storytelling, Remedial Reading teacher Kathy Rowell and Librarian Kathy Bennett chose Reynolds because Lincoln Trail students have not been exposed to the elements of mysteries.
“With the new Common Core standards, there are a lot of things coming down that kids need to be aware of,” Rowell said.
Reynold’s books such as “Creepy Carrots!,” “Chicks and Salsa,” “Back of the Bus” and “Joey Fly, Private Eye” also covered a variety of age range interests and reading levels.
Rowell said it’s important for authors to talk to the children because they often talk about the long writing process, rejection letters and revision. She also said the face-to-face exposure inspires some students to read more.
“I’m always looking for ways to hook kids into reading,” she said. “You’re just hoping by different experiences you’ll make books come alive.”
Students had opportunities to look at Reynold’s books during their classroom library time throughout the first nine weeks. They also used Reynold’s website and informational bulletin boards throughout the school to develop questions to ask him after his talk. Teachers stressed the importance of asking educated questions.
Teachers also read Reynold’s books to their class or showed them videos from his website.
“I think the kids are very fortunate here,” Rowell said. “The teachers have really done a nice job.”
Reynolds spent an hour with each grade as he guided them through an interactive mysteryto figure out the five components found in every mystery: trouble, motive, evidence, red herring and suspense. Students were engaged by his animated and funny approach.
Alongside giving students new vocabulary, Reynolds stressed that while he doesn’t have a theme in mind while he writes, he is always aware of the five components, and uses them throughout the writing process.
Reynolds told students he received many rejection letters before a publisher decided to take his work.
After the performance, Reynolds signed his books for students who purchased them prior to Friday.
Lincoln Trail continues to focus on the importance of reading through activities this week. During Monday’s instruction, the whole school dropped everything to read for 15 minutes.
Students were encouraged to wear crazy socks Tuesday during “Sock it to me with a Good Book.” On Wed. students will visit a different classroom for 15 minutes as teachers share their favorite book. Lincoln Trail will also talk about scary books as students wear crazy hairdos for “Read a Hair-Raising Book.”
After “Hats off to a Good Book” on Thursday, students will be encouraged to go home, turn off the television and read with their family for 15 minutes. Participants will receive a decoration on their locker the next day. Students will also be able to take home two used books from the Used Book Fair.
To end the week, Lincoln Trail staff and students will be encouraged to wear their comfy clothes to school for “Reading is no Sweat” day.
Teachers have sent a copy of their favorite book to the Lincoln Trail library so students can see what they like to read. Rowell will also have a student book recommendation display.