Sunday, November 8, 2015

Responsible Readers Return Books: Teacher/Librarian Research

Parts of my district struggle with students being responsible and remembering to return library books.  My school falls victim to this issue.  Beyond sending out overdue notices, I've never had to time to think about what else I could do to improve this situation.  All that changed this summer.  I researched what some other schools have done to encourage students to be more responsible returning books.

Here was the plan I came up with for this year:

1. Students in 3rd-5th* grade are able to earn incentives for returning books.  Points are tracked with Class Dojo (program is called Responsible Reader).  If a student returns ALL library books the day they checkout, 1 point is given.  Earn so many points for a reward.  

*K-2 keep their books at school.

But, I got to thinking... what about my students who aren't finished with the book and want to keep reading?

2.  Teach students checkout day vocabulary, such as "return" and "renew."  This way students would understand that an individual doesn't just keep a book to read and assume the LMS is a mind-reader.  Students are asked to state that they want to renew a library book during checkout days and therefore receive a Class Dojo point for renewing.

3. Ask students to return their library books at the beginning of the day they are due.  This is a huge time saver! Library Crew students deliver mobile crates to classrooms the day before books are due and then return the crate full of books the next morning.  The theory is if students see the crate on their way out of school, then maybe they would think "Oh, I need to grab my library books from home!"  

4.  Be more consistent with sending out overdue notices.  First batch went out around fall parent/teacher conferences.  Received a good chunk of books back.  Score!

So far, I'm very happy with the plan and students are happy to earn points for returning books.

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