October marks the official "Scary Stories" season in the library (or classroom). And while readers of all ages always seem to ask for a SCARY story, fall is always a good season for those books best read on a dark and stormy night.

Check out all the things you will need to get in the scary story mood this October. You'll also find some great ghost stories, literary costume ideas, and a how-to art lesson for decorating pumpkins by author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Plus, you'll always find books for all ages, curriculum connections, #classroombookaday options, a terrific read for First Chapter Friday, new titles coming from POPULAR authors, book-to-movie news, and more.


Scroll down or click here to read it.






#newsletter #classroom #curriculumconnection #teachers #librarians #fridayfive #classroombookaday #yalit #kidlit #newbooks #basedonabook #newbooks #reading #authors #firstchapterfriday

October marks the official "Scary Stories" season in the library (or classroom). And while readers of all ages always seem to ask for a SCARY story, fall is always a good season for those books best read on a dark and stormy night.

Check out all the things you will need to get in the scary story mood this October. You'll also find some great ghost stories, literary costume ideas, and a how-to art lesson for decorating pumpkins by author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Plus, you'll always find books for all ages, curriculum connections, #classroombookaday options, a terrific read for First Chapter Friday, new titles coming from POPULAR authors, book-to-movie news, and more.


Scroll down or click here to read it.





#newsletter #classroom #curriculumconnection #teachers #librarians #fridayfive #classroombookaday #yalit #kidlit #newbooks #basedonabook #newbooks #reading #authors #firstchapterfriday

Or, what happens in 6th period stays in 6th period.


So, my first ever class of seniors have graduated and I poured my heart and soul (and the blood of many paper cuts) into making them book page graduation garlands. It was a labor of love for a class that I was truly blessed to teach this year.




At first, I was hesitant to teach seniors as I considered myself strongly in the role of middle school educator. But I've taught everything from K-9th grade, and it was only for one class period/day so I thought, why not?!


I am so glad that I did. I have posted several times this year about this class. What started out as a class of predominately non-readers, turned into a class of thoughtful, engaged READERS!


Here are some highlights of our year together:

1) "WHY DOES MY SCHEDULE SAY LITERATURE FOR MY ELECTIVE?!" Yes, this is how I was greeted on day one by many students who were forced to be in the class because they needed to recover a literature credit. I was scared that this did not bode well for our time together.


2) "What happens in 6th period, stays in 6th period." While I'm still a little disappointed we did not make class shirts with this slogan, this quickly became our class motto. "We" discovered that reading was FUN and that our class dynamic was great for discussion and they didn't want it disrupted by late-semester transfers once word got out that they were in the "best elective." (Okay, we weren't really this mean and would have welcomed other students, but the school didn't allow schedule changes anyway, so if was fun to pretend we were a secret club).


3) Breakup with a Book. By far, one of the best in-class activities I have ever done!


4) They started recommending books to their friends in other classes! You can see their Top 10 picks for High School readers here.


5) Book Character TED Talks: Every Tuesday was TED Talk Tuesday in our class. (As spring progressed, this turned to commencement speeches by authors). For their final reflection project, I had them pick a character from one of the books they read and outline a TED Talk they would give. WOW! So impressed with the reasons they picked and what they thought those characters would say.


6) Watching the students identify as READERS! Just one example: the girl who started out proud that she "hadn't read a book since 4th grade" was so proud every time she finished a book (which at last count was 10 or 11 books for spring semester) that she would announce loudly "Ms. Butler, I just finished another book!" every time the principal walked by the classroom. She was only partially finished with Sarah Dessen's "Saint Anything" on the last day of classes and did nothing but read during our class party, so I let her take it home to finish with the promise that she attempt to return it at some point as it was my own personal copy. (FYI, she returned it to the school today). She would always joke, "Mrs. Yusko, I'm your success story, right?" Without prompting, during one of our final Free Read Fridays, they started an informal discussion about how their views on reading had changed over the course of our class. I sat off to the side and listened. One young man in class turned to me and said, "Mrs. Yusko, I bet this makes you happy to hear." #myworkhereisdone


7) We don't teach for the glory, and definitely not for the paycheck, but when you receive heartfelt notes (and emails) from students, it's ALL WORTH IT. #whyiteach #imnotcryingyourecrying








No really, THANK YOU! It's been one of my favorite classes in my entire teaching career.


#contemporarylit #highschool #teaching #whyiteach #myworkhereisdone #reading #classroom #whyiteachtuesday

Besides talking about books at my #yalit seminars, I also share real-world examples of student success stories, classroom activities, and how I incorporate and promote reading during the school day.


I can talk about the importance of CHOICE reading ad nauseum, and could probably write a dissertation on the topic at this point. So instead, I thought I would focus this post on student responses to reading. One of the questions I get asked frequently is "how do you know if they've read the book?" I'm going to be honest, READING is the point of the class for me and what I consider the most important. But you're right, schools require us to grade something, and since I hate reading logs, here are some ideas that I do throughout the year.


1) Free Read Friday: Barring assemblies, field days, or standardized testing, our Fridays are spent READING! As long as students are on task, we spend the 45-ish minutes of class "silent" reading. (All of us...teacher included). First of all, I will fight any administrator that says this is a waste of time. Luckily I don't have to at my school. Now, before you think that I've cracked the code to keep a class full of teenagers silent, on task, and reading for 45 minutes, I haven't. Fridays are days where I have reading conversations with students, do formal and informal booktalks as needed, give students the opportunity to write book reviews and tell other students about what they're reading, and more. Of course, the majority of the time is spent reading, and I'll be honest, most of my students honor this time and their classmates by finding a place to relax and read. I think most of them appreciated the "break" from the stresses of other classes. Do students get off task? Sure. Are there students who don't read? Sometimes. But as with any classroom, you deal with that as necessary.


2) Reading Response Projects: Besides informal conversations, book reviews, and the occasional in-class on-demand writing prompt, students are required to complete a "project" after their reading. (Middle school and high school had different guidelines for number of books read vs projects completed but every one had to complete at least a few each semester). At the start of the year I offered students a list of choices for these projects as well as guidelines/rubrics. They included anything from one-pagers, book commercials, and poetry journals... to comic strips, quote posters, and Snapchat stories. Here are a few samples of my high school class' projects this spring:


Digital art representing Moxie by Jen Mathieu

One pager for Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner

One pager for The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die by April Henry

Comic strip for a poem in The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Quote poster for Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Playlist for The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Part of the script of a book commercial for The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang.

Comic Strip for Treasure Island

Persuasive presentation on why I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is the "best book ever."

3) Student Created Projects: Besides giving them a list of acceptable project ideas, I invite students to come up with their own (teacher-approved) ideas for projects that demonstrate reading. This is how, for the last project of the year, I was convinced by my seniors to let them bring in food that represented their book (because yes, they wanted a class party and we weren't technically allowed to have one). Let me tell you, the level of thought that went into these food choices was TERRIFIC and definitely showed their comprehension of the books.


4) Volunteering at Literacy Events: True, it's voluntary and not graded, but I encourage my students to volunteer at our monthly Feed n Read events. This is a great opportunity for younger students in our community to interact with teens and tweens and to have positive, shared reading experiences. It has the added benefit of being an enjoyable experience for my students as well. I always offer the option to trade out one "assignment" per semester in exchange for volunteering at one event. Let's be real, life gets busy, and there are a myriad of reasons why students may not be able to complete an assignment. But our Feed n Reads always need volunteers and the younger kids LOVE reading with the teens so it's actually a win for more than just me. And most of my students that volunteer come each month, not just the one time...proof that they secretly enjoy reading with the kids.


5) Book Character TED Talk: We did TED Talk Tuesday in our classroom each week. You can read more about that here. As a final project, I had my Contemporary Lit students choose a book character (from a book they read this year) that they would want to give a TED Talk, and then outline the key points or message that would be included. Again, WOW! I received some amazing responses. Definitely an assignment I'm keeping in the rotation.


What are some of your favorite reading-related classroom activities?



#classroom #contemporarylit #studentchoice #choicereading #TEDTalk #FeednRead #studentwork #highschool #middleschool #reading #freereadfriday


Last night was another successful Feed n Read! And I think this photo really captures the spirit of the evening.

If you can’t tell from the photo, the young woman on the left has 8 books in her hand (because Mrs. Yusko said, “Happy Easter! Take as many books as you want!”). She moved to our community at the start of the school year and couldn’t read at all. One of her teachers told me last night that she has made HUGE strides this year! When I took a moment to chat with her about her book choices, she was clearly proud that she was a reader. “I read all the time! I need more books so that I can keep reading. Also, do you mind if I take this Cars book to read to my little brother? He’s only 3 but he would like it and we can read together.” <heart melting>


And that pretty much sums up the power of #bookaccessforall.


Feed n Read has an impact on all of us: the kids and families that attend, the volunteers, the educators, the community.


I love to see the teen volunteers having just as much fun as the kids they’re reading with. I’m honestly not sure who gets the most out of the experience. They eat together, play together, talk story, and read together. They give hugs and piggy back rides. They help them choose books.


I love that we are starting to have families that attend together. Parents that pick out books for their kids while the littles are listening to stories. Parents that ask if they can take a book for themselves.


It takes a village and we definitely could not do this each month without our village:

Our volunteers: teachers, principals, community members, teens, families, and more!


Our generous meal sponsor: Daylight Mind and Kiawe Smokehouse!


The staff at Ulu Wini for making this program a priority and always being there to support our efforts!


Want to know more? Start a program of your own? Donate to our book fund? Contact me! In the meantime, enjoy some more pics of our Feed n Read FUN!




#feednread #community #outreach #literacy #volunteers #floodingthebookdesert #newbooks #reading #storytime


When you hit the high school teaching trifecta and your class of seniors meets:

1) the last period of the school day +

2) the day before what is basically a 5 day weekend for them +

3) on Valentine’s Day =


...yep, definitely time to ditch formal lesson plans and go for Anti-Valentine’s Day activities!


Does it make me a bad person that the homework to prep for Thursday’s class was to “think of a book you didn’t enjoy reading. And bring your snark...”?! 🤣 What can I say, that’s just who we are as a class.


So, the assignment on Valentine’s Day was to “break up with a book you didn’t like.” Text, tweet, Dear John-esque letter, poster, whatever they felt could best convey their (school-appropriate) opinions. One young woman did a FIVE SLIDE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION!


Let‘s be honest, we all have books that we didn’t like. Or memories of having to read that one book in high school that just made us miserable every day we had to sit in class and discuss it. For whatever reason, the book(s) just didn’t “click” with us...we weren’t a good match. Giving my students the chance to acknowledge this was actually a positive experience for all involved.


Yes, I did give them some initial guidelines (no, you can’t just say, “you suck”), and I encouraged them to compare it to a book or genre they do like. Here‘s what we learned:


1) it really is okay not to like a book. Even if others in the class, or your friends, or even your teacher liked the book.

2) they really enjoyed talking about the books both good and bad and comparing reading experiences.

3) understanding what they didn’t like has helped them pinpoint what they do like to read...and why.


(In addition to all of these, this teacher learned that all of them took the same World Lit class as Freshmen and had to read Tolstoy. And, not surprisingly, they all say that was the worst book they read that year. Excuse me while I check on the required reading lists for all classes...)


Some examples of their breakups: (I tried my best to protect the title of the book being dumped. Except for Tolstoy).



“...reading you was the visual equivalent of chewing on tin foil...”


”I had such high hopes for you because the first book was amazing...”


”The cliche setup and predictability brought down a fastastic story idea.”


“We need to break up. Your personality is as boring as unseasoned steak.”


”I fell in love with the Matched Trilogy by Ally instead because it was everything I wanted from a series.”


And, because I was inspired by Tracee Orman’s Rejected Candy Hearts assignment (available on TPT), after they were done dumping their book, they could write some (SCHOOL APPROPRIATE!) rejected candy hearts. Some of them are pretty funny.


Do you have any good middle school or high school Valentine’s activities?


Or books that you want to break up with?

#highschool #contemporarylit #yalit #reading #books #valentinesday #activities #letterstoabook #fridayfunny

Another #FeednRead went off without a hitch this week. And there was a lot of LOVE going on in honor of Valentine’s Day ❤️


Volunteers, both veteran and new, adult and teen, shared stories, smiles, and a meal with our kiddos over the course of the evening. And because it was Valentine’s week, kids could make cards, write letters, color bookmarks, and complete more fun literacy activities.


These are just a few images of the F💗N!


My personal highlight was spending a few moments with this young man (see below) as he was deciding which two NEW books he was going to choose. (Part of the Feed n Read experience = our participants get to choose at least one BRAND NEW BOOK to keep. Book access builds readers). He wanted to show me how he’d been practicing his reading since I’d last seen him...so he stood there and read me the entire book! (FYI, it was Space Cows by Eric Seltzer. A fun, and funny, read. And a good choice for those very beginning readers. The picture actually shows him perusing Henry and Mudge and the Sparkle Days by Cynthia Rylant, which is the other book he chose).


You can see just how happy he is to be able to read this book! #heartmelting


If you want to read more about our program, check out this previous post. And/or the article in our local paper.


Want to to make a difference?

1) Come join us at the next event: March 12, 5:30pm - 7:00pm!

2) Support Daylight Mind in Kona and THANK them for supporting us!

3) Not local? We can always use NEW books. Email Shauna Yusko to find out how to contribute to our wishlist.


Happy Valentine’s Day!


Share a story with someone you love.


#community #uluwini #reading #storytime #readaloud #bookaccess #bookaccessforall #littlefreelibrary #ifyoubuildit



Updated: Jan 31, 2019


This week we wrap up the first #choiceread unit of the semester in my senior Contemporary Lit class. I thought I would highlight some of the books that have made an impact so far.


1) Stephanie Kate Strohm’s Prince In Disguise was such a hit during #booktasting that two of my students played rock, paper, scissors for who would get to read it first!


Both teens self-identified as “non-readers” at the beginning of the semester. The student currently reading this book has enjoyed it so much and is so proud of her progress that she even mentioned it to the principal who was passing by the classroom. “Look, Mrs. Butler, I’m READING a book!”




2) Here’s what one student had to say about April Henry’s The Girl I Used to Be:

“I picked this book because you suggested it last year and because April Henry writes very interesting books about teenagers, which makes the story even better. I like how mysterious and detailed it is. I chose to keep reading because every time I read a new chapter, something unpredictable happens, which makes you want to keep reading it.”




3) There’s one student in class who claims “not to like reading.” Yeah, so that’s an actual lie because he’s VERY well-read and has strong opinions about what he likes. (Which is unfortunately a genre that isn’t my personal favorite). So I’ve recommended books right and left, inside and outside of that genre, that I did like. Three of my suggestions he stopped reading (admittedly he did make a dent in all of them before deciding no) and one I’m pretty sure he finished solely out of spite so he could tell me it was “cliche.” (I love seniors).


But I adore this teen and the conversations we have and I’ve kept at it... and finally my brain clicked: “SCYTHE!!!!” Yesterday as class is starting he says, “so, you’re going to bring in your copy of Thunderhead, right?!”


#myteacherheartisfull

#myworkhereisdone





#studentchoice #choicereading #iteachhighschool #teachers #librarians #yalit #reading #whatiread #amreading #whatireadwednesday #contemporarylit

WHAT YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE SAYING:

Guadelupe, Teacher, CA

The knowledge and passion for books for EVERY reader  has hooked me! She is in the classroom and just gets readers.

Dee, Teacher-Librarian, CA

Wowza! One of the best, packed workshops, filled with RELEVANT content, delivered in a well organized, engagingly paced seminar. HIGHLY RECOMMEND to librarians and lovers of literature.

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Excellent content, EXCEPTIONAL presenter! The entire presentation was engaging and meaningful. I am excited to have the opportunity to take all of these amazing titles and introduce my students to them.

Laurie, Librarian, IL

GREAT SEMINAR! Shauna was fantastic. My booklist is overflowing and I can't wait to share these books with students, and educate my teachers.

Julia, School Librarian, PA

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Chad, LA Teacher, IL

Shauna reinforces the idea that there are two types of students: those who like to read and those who haven't found the right book yet. She offers a plethora of resources and titles for both!

Guadelupe, Teacher, CA

The knowledge and passion for books for EVERY reader  has hooked me! She is in the classroom and just gets readers.

Dee, Teacher-Librarian, CA

Wowza! One of the best, packed workshops, filled with RELEVANT content, delivered in a well organized, engagingly paced seminar. HIGHLY RECOMMEND to librarians and lovers of literature.

Lindsey, English Teacher, TX

Excellent content, EXCEPTIONAL presenter! The entire presentation was engaging and meaningful. I am excited to have the opportunity to take all of these amazing titles and introduce my students to them.

Guadelupe, Teacher, CA

The knowledge and passion for books for EVERY reader  has hooked me! She is in the classroom and just gets readers.

Dee, Teacher-Librarian, CA

Wowza! One of the best, packed workshops, filled with RELEVANT content, delivered in a well organized, engagingly paced seminar. HIGHLY RECOMMEND to librarians and lovers of literature.

Lindsey, English Teacher, TX

Excellent content, EXCEPTIONAL presenter! The entire presentation was engaging and meaningful. I am excited to have the opportunity to take all of these amazing titles and introduce my students to them.

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