Game Changer!: Book Access for All Kids

MILLER, Donalyn & . 144p. bibliog. index. photos. Scholastic. Nov. 2018. pap. $21.95. ISBN 9781338310597.
Miller and Sharp provide suggestions for transforming "book deserts" into "book floods" and enumerate the many barriers to reading, including lack of access to libraries, library fines, and often disheartening reading levels. Suggestions such as keeping school libraries open all year, giving students the opportunity to work off fines (by shelving, reading to younger children or writing book reviews), and instituting a no-fines policy may seem unfeasible. However, the authors' passionate argument that it is better to lose a book than a reader, coupled with research that proves access to books impacts learning and prevents the summer slide, will hopefully convince administrators to make some of these innovative changes. Miller, Sharp, and many other contributors in the field offer lively anecdotes and imaginative suggestions. They urge school librarians to distribute books before summer begins and provide long term check-out. They also emphasize the importance of Little Free Libraries and classroom libraries with diverse materials that are focused on student interest, with input from the school librarian. The authors provide strategies for encouraging pleasure reading, such as traditional booktalks, student-led book discussions, and teachers who model reading. The book is attractive, with colorful photos, inspiring quotes, and informative references.
VERDICT School librarians will be inspired to try new techniques in their pursuit of developing lifelong readers.–Jackie Gropman, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, VA

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