Blog Archives

So read me maybe…

We’ve probably all enjoyed some version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s song “Call Me Maybe.” (My favorite is probably Cookie Monster’s version.) But thanks to my Pinterest obsession I found this, and with the dedication of some hard-working library science students, we made this bulletin board. Students can scan the QR codes to watch the trailer and then check out the book of the one they like! Fun with a purpose is always a good thing.


Holly Frilot, Collins Hill High School

Skype author visit

Gail Giles, a YA author that has appeal to guys, girls, high and low level readers, Skyped into Collins Hill HS a few weeks ago. I was a nervous wreck, anticipating the many things that could go wrong when you combine teenagers, technology, and the first attempt at something new. However, it was a resounding success! Gail Giles was witty and fun, and our students did a wonderful job asking questions and keeping the conversation going. If you want to see the highlights, see our short video here. If you want more details, keep reading…

Amy Golemme, my co-media specialist, and I brainstormed authors that would have mass appeal. Gail Giles was our first thought, so I took a shot in the dark and emailed her. She emailed back quickly and we got the details planned out – one test session a few days before, then 2 sessions during our 2nd and 3rd periods. We decided to use the media center to keep it cozy and inviting, rather than a larger space like the commons area or theater. I made signs for the hallways and classrooms and the media center. I went into all the 9th and 10th grade LA classes to promote it. Students that wanted to participate had to read at least one of her books, answer a few questions, and write a few questions they’d like to ask her. For those students, I gave them a pass out of class during 2nd or 3rd period and they were our VIPs. I also invited two language arts classes per session and any media specialists from the around the county that could come.

In Gwinnett, we aren’t allowed to use Skype, but we do have an alternative – Polycom and the Blue Jeans network. We use those tools and the author uses Skype. Kevin Tomlinson from the county was excellent technical support for us and helped put my technology fears to rest. On the day of the event, we set up about 80 chairs in the media center, created VIP seats, put out a breakfast spread, set up the technology, and hoped for the best! Gail came on, introduced herself, and then we had the students come up to the computer to ask questions. We had a webcam and external mic hooked up to my laptop. The students asked good questions, and Gail was entertaining, funny, and informative. When I polled the students after the event, they all said they had a positive experience and many expressed interest in doing it again. One student even turned in a top ten list of authors she’d like to Skype with!

If you have any questions or want templates for signs, the handout students filled out, or any other details, don’t hestitate to email me at or call at 770.682.4126. It was a lot of work, but a great experience for us and for the students.

Holly Frilot, Collins Hill High School

Lexile Scores in GALILEO

Lexiles are standard scores that match a student’s reading ability to the difficulty of the reading material. Many GALILEO resources not only include Lexile scores, they also let students limit their search results to a particular Lexile range. Let’s take a look at GALILEO resources that include Lexiles.

NoveList and NoveList K-8 include a Lexile score in the information for many books as well as a link to a Lexile chart. To limit your search to a specific Lexile range, just click on Advanced Search and choose your range. Tip: In Advanced Search, you can leave the search box blank and just choose the Lexile range of your choice to see all books in that range.

SIRS Discoverer and SIRS Issues Researcher both include a Lexile score in articles. In either database, search for the topic and then choose to sort results by Lexile. To limit to a particular range in either database, click on the Advanced Search and type in the Lexile range.

Many EBSCO resources, such as Student Research Center, MAS Ultra, Middle Search Plus, Kids Search, and Searchasaurus, also include Lexile scores. Most resources let students limit their search to a Lexile range from the main search screen. In Kids Search, students can choose the Detailed Search to limit their search.

See this handout for more information.

Please Contact Us if you have questions or comments or if you need to report problems.

Courtney McGough
GALILEO Support Services
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

Screenshot from Advanced Search in NoveList

Some links may not work off site. Log in to GALILEO first for access.

Express Links for Databases Mentioned in this Post:
NoveList K-8:
SIRS Discoverer:
SIRS Issues Researcher:
Student Research Center:
MAS Ultra:
Middle Search Plus:
Kids Search:
Searchasaurus for Middle:
Searchasaurus for Primary/Elementary:
Find All Your Express Links (what’s this?)

First Grade Apple Lesson

A first grade teacher and I teamed up for a lesson about apples.  The 2-day lesson included several read a louds about the life cycle of the apple tree and what wonderful things we get from apples, an apple tasting, making a class pictograph of your favorite kind of apple, how applesauce is made, and a homemade apple sauce tasting.

The first thing we did when the students came to the library is fill out a graphic organizer on the white board as a class—anything and everything the students could tell me about apples.  Then I read several books about apples and the apple harvest.  We revisited the graphic organizer to see if there was anything students wanted to add based on the information from the books we just read.

Next, we had an apple tasting.  Every student ate a piece of green apple, yellow apple, and red apple.  We discussed words like “sour” and “tart.”  Once each student decided on his/her favorite apple, they got a die-cut of their favorite apple and put it on the pictograph.  We then talked about the graph: what apple do students like the most?  What apple do students like the least?  How many more students like one kind of apple over another kind.

After the pictograph discussion, we talked about the steps involved in making applesauce.  All the ingredients were shown to the students. They got to smell the different spices, see how a peeler works, and see how a slow cooker works.  (When they smelled the spices, they made comments like: “That smells like my oatmeal.”  Cute!)

Rounding out the first day of the 2-day lesson, the students completed an apple book printed from Enchanted Learning.   Before leaving the library, they were told they would come back tomorrow to finish the lesson.  Several students cheered: “YAY!  We are coming back to the library tomorrow.”  You gotta love hearing that as a librarian!

At home that evening I peeled about 16 apples and put everything in the slow cooker to make the apple sauce.  The next morning, everything was ready!

When the students came in for the second day of everything apples, they were so excited!  We first reviewed things from the day before—we revisited the pictograph, we talked about the steps (in the correct order) of making applesauce, and we talked about all the facts they learned about apples and the life cycle of the apple tree.  Then everyone got a bowl of homemade applesauce.  Comments from the students: “Ms. Tigges, you are genius.”  “Ms.Tigges, you are a rock star.”  I was feeling the love!

The students enjoyed the lesson.  The students felt comfortable in the library. The students read non-fiction books.   Mission accomplished!

Now I hope to take this lesson and turn it into a Media Festival project with a few of the students.

Some age-appropriate apple books:

The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons

Apples Grow on a Tree by Mari Schuh

Picking Apples by Gail Saunders-Smith

Apples by Gail Gibbons

Apples by Ken Robbins

Apples by Elaine Landau

How Do Apples Grow? By Betsy Maestro

Seed, Sprout, Fruit: An Apple Tree Life Cycle by Shannon Knudsen

Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Apples, Apples Everywhere!  Learning about Apple Harvests by Robin Koontz


Slow cooker apple sauce recipe:

Happy Harvesting!

Anja Tigges, Ed.S.


William J. Scott Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools

1752 Hollywood Road

Atlanta, GA 30318

404. 802. 7000

The Reading Promise: A Review and an Idea

My daughter has already had a book read to her every day since she was born

Happy Father’s Day!  For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been enjoying The Reading Promise: My father and the books we shared by Alice Ozma.  This was such a fitting book to read as I think about my own relationship and reading life with my 18-month old daughter, but the book connected with me in so many more ways as well.

The Reading Promise is Alice Ozma’s memories of a reading streak that she achieved with her father from the time she was in 4th grade until college.  Her father, an elementary librarian (see another connection?), had seen his older daughter move away from wanting to be read to, so he vowed he wouldn’t let that happen with his youngest daughter.  Even though they already enjoyed reading together often, they decided to make a commitment to read together every day for 100 days.  When they accomplished that, they set their sights on 1,000 days and just kept going.  Alice recounts the stories of her life and how the streak seemed to come into every aspect of her life from informing her questions about growing up to coping with life topics like divorce to finding the conversations to have with her father.  The book is about so much more than just the streak.  It surrounds the reader with ideas and themes such as:

  • a single father doing everything he can to provide for his family
  • the importance of immersing yourself in the written word
  • how a solid foundation in stories can inform every aspect of your life, including your successes and your struggles
  • the changing roles of libraries and librarians
  • the challenges of holding to a commitment
  • the value of daily family time
  • how literature can be a doorway to the most difficult conversations in life
  • the dangers of censorship

After seeing where “the streak” took this now 22-year-old, I can’t help but think about my own life and my own students and families.  What would happen if every family in my school started a streak?  What would it look like?  How would it change the culture of my school?  How would it impact student achievement?  What roles could technology play?


So much has developed since Alice Ozma experienced the streak with her father.  I could imagine families using blogs, wikis, and shared documents to document their streak.  Tools such as Skype or Face Time could be used stay in touch on nights when they might be away from one another. E-books and the many tools that accompany them such as highlighting, sharing, and note-taking could further support family discussions.  At the same time, more traditional print books and journals could still be a valuable tool as well.  I think so often there is a mindset that it’s technology or paper when in reality it’s a combination of them all.  We must harness the wealth of tools at our fingertips and find ways to incorporate them into our lives.


At the end of The Reading Promise, there is a form that can be used to create an actual promise to read together as often as possible, to protect the written word in whatever format it takes, and to celebrate the joy of story.  It makes me curious, and I’m thinking a lot this summer about how this idea might come to life in my school next year.  I encourage you to read this book and consider this too.


Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA