“Frankly, I don’t mind what they’re reading...so long as they are reading something there’s at least a chance that one day they’ll move on to something better.”
That's a quote from a recent article in the New York Review, discussing the importance of quality when selecting books for kids. What do you think? Can we do better than just read something...anything? Does everything - especially kid's books - have to be commercialized? By offering a wide variety of children's literature in relevant categories, can we give kids the opportunity to find interesting books that still have the structure educators prefer?
Likely, you believe there must be a better way. But thousands and thousands of books are available for children to read. Where do you start?
The Blue Ribbon Awards Collection
Every year, across America, educators and other reading professionals nominate books for state award programs. From preschool to high school, these state award programs offer a glimpse into children's literature from the view of those who work with students on a daily basis. Blue Ribbon staff spend hours researching those lists so you don't have to. From those award nominated titles, the Blue Ribbon Books Award Collection is created.
Many of these titles only appear in one state's list. Perhaps the book has a specific regional interest, or it's part of a state wide reading initiative. What a great way for students across America to learn about their fellow citizens! Plus, educators can incorporate social studies and geography into literacy by illustrating the title's cultural flavor and geographical setting.
Other books in the Blue Ribbon Awards Collection occur on multiple lists, meaning that a much broader cross section of educators found the title valuable. Does that make a title better than others? That's for you (and your students) to decide.
Each title in the collection has a detail page giving more information to readers. Links to author pages provide insight into the inspiration behind the books included. Book talk videos are linked to most titles, so visual learners can see and hear the excitement! Check out related titles listed at the bottom of each title page, giving students and teachers ideas for their next reading adventure.
With the help of the Blue Ribbon Awards Collection, Readola can guide students into higher quality titles. But thousands of titles are available. How can Readola make more specific recommendations?
Helping students find appropriate reading material requires guidance and continued support. Common consideration has often included:
- Pick up a book and have your child flip through the first few pages. Oftentimes, your child can tell you if there is too much text or if the words are too big.
- Consider your child's two or three favorite books. Compare other books by this standard. Feel free to pick up a few that are slightly easier and slightly harder than their favorite titles!
- Determine whether the subject matter is appropriate for your child's age and/or maturity level. Are they ready to learn about concepts such as manners, math, or war?
- Choose books that will keep your child's interest. Are they bored by trucks and fascinated by dinosaurs? Try to choose materials that will make your child excited to read!
Those are great recommendations, yet there's an even better way to find great books and help build reading proficiency. Readola takes the next step by recommending your student search for books by reading level, not age. The Blue Ribbon Awards Collection is sorted by Lexile Level, a scientific way to identify a student's general reading proficiency. If your school uses a different method to determine reading level, Readola offers a conversion chart.
As opposed to expensive, proprietary reading curriculum sold to schools by huge multi-national corporations, Readola strives to be your Open Resource Reading Plan. The Blue Ribbon Awards Collection is an important part of that initiative. Most books in the collection are found on library shelves. If your school library doesn't include all the titles, there's a very good chance the local public library can get them for you. By using books that are readily available, and will be useful for many years to come, you are helping your school achieve sustainability goals and make great literature accessible to all students, regardless of their financial situation.
Plus, most major eBook services (such as Sora) include Blue Ribbon titles. If your school wants to purchase titles from the collection, Readola helps negotiate better pricing with publishers and wholesalers.
Books On Tour
Readola uses the Blue Ribbon Awards Collection to create the Books on Tour Challenge; the ultimate goal for prolific readers. The challenge is to read at least one book from each state! (From the student's appropriate reading level). Students, along with their families and educators, create a Reading Roadmap; a wishlist of great books they intend to read. Teachers and schools can also create their own Reading Roadmap as part of their reading plan. There's even a professionally developed learning plan and curriculum unit available just for Books on Tour!
Does your student prefer non-fiction? Hundreds of STEM and non-fiction titles are included. Many states have specific categories for non-fiction awards, plus the Blue Ribbon Awards Collection also includes titles from the National Science Teachers Award program.
The Blue Ribbon Awards Collection receives constant updates as new nominations are released. Blue Ribbon actively adds classic titles from past years (Heritage Awards), creating one of the most complete resources for quality children's literature available today.
To see more titles available in the Blue Ribbon Awards Collection, create a free account.
PLEASE NOTE: Some higher level novels may include material you might find objectionable. Please review your student's Reading Roadmap for proper guidance.