Teacher Quick Start

Thank you for all you do for the school and your students. Blue Ribbon Reading wants to be a partner, to help you accomplish your classroom goals. Please consider creating a wishlist at the book fair and make that wishlist available to your student's family - they want to help! 

In addition to the book fair, Blue Ribbon is proud to feature Readola. Readola offers tools and lesson plans that work in conjuction with the Blue Ribbon Awards Collection. Over the past several years, Blue Ribbon has compiled a list of award nominated titles from every state. As a Blue Ribbon Partner School, you have free access to this incredible resource. Titles are grouped by state and also by Lexile. 

We're always looking for new and unique ways to utilize the Blue Ribbon Awards Collection to further literacy. Please let us know what you create! Ask your Book Fair Chairperson or your Blue Ribbon contact person for your access code to these resources. 


Blue Ribbon Book Talk

This flexible, student-driven project is perfect for getting students engaged in a book they care about while demonstrating a variety of literacy and communication skills. Ideal for a summative assessment, independent reading tier time, or school-wide reading event.

Books on Tour Lesson Plan

This classroom environment strategy is meant as one way to integrate Readola’s Books on Tour Challenge into your classroom as a long-term reading incentive program. In short, as your students read one of the books from a given state’s list of educator-selected award-winning books, have them put one of their stickers on the map corresponding to the state. It’s a great way to inspire a love of reading in elementary students of any age!

For this challenge to have its maximum appeal for your students, you’ll want to post a large U.S. map on a wall—really, the larger the better! The royalty-free map in this lesson plan is a good example of the kind of map you’ll want to use: borders between states are clearly defined, and there’s not a lot of clutter within each state. You’ll also want 50 unique, easily recognizable stickers for each student (stars, circles, photos of their face, etc.). Finally, you’ll want to devise an incentive program to go along with this plan. You can use any available prizes for this, but a Readola gift certificate is certainly a great way to keep them reading (PTO or classroom decoration funds are a good way to subsidize this)!

50 State Fun Facts Pack (Curriculum Unit)

This is a fantastic tie-in to the Books on Tour Challenge! Pack Contains:

Unique and interesting facts for each state, applicable to a wide variety of ages. Each state has a separate fact sheet, a guide to list state specific titles, unique pictorial state map and state seal (a great conversation starter). Separate work sheets allow you to distribute per state.

Let Freedom Ring (Curriculum Unit)

Activism is a subject with a lot of potential for students to draw meaningful, emotional connections to their own lives and families. In this multidisciplinary four-lesson unit, ideal for Black History Month (or any time!), students will have the opportunity to engage with the perspectives of multiple authors, synthesize information, and share their findings and personal connections with their peers and community. The unit culminates with students having the opportunity to build a website on Google Sites to share what they’ve learned in an authentic, engaging way. As each lesson is long enough to span multiple days, if an hour is given to work on this unit each school day, it is likely that the whole unit will take about four to five weeks to complete.

Although this unit is designed with certain technology and specific award-winning books in mind, it may be adapted in accordance with the resources your learning community has available. These books have Lexile levels that make them appropriate for independent reading for most fourth- and fifth-graders who are reading at grade level (700–1040). If most of the students who will be doing these lessons are not at a sufficiently high level, additional scaffolding or an alternate reading selection should be provided. This lesson may also be employed with older or younger students with some modifications or extensions.

Designed for Success

Students will learn about how famous inventors followed engineering and design principles to solve a problem, then collaborate to design a device of their own!

Exploring Ecosystems

A perfect way to tie literacy to engaging animals and larger life science themes, this multi-day lesson teaches students about ecosystems using two award-winning nonfiction books. Students will learn about the interactions between animals and plants, draw connections to local ecosystems, then conduct research and create a profile of an apex predator.

Hit the Road

This flexible lesson is an introduction to using the features on Readola.com, especially the Reading Roadmap. By the end of this lesson, students will have a ready-to-go list of books they’re interested in.

Incredible Illustrations

In this fast, flexible, and fun reading lesson, students will get to play the role of an illustrator while completing the story of an award-winning picture book.

Blue Ribbon Best Practices:

Find the Right Book

Using Lexiles

21 Questions About a Book

Cross Curriculum Links

Lexile to Grade Cross Reference

Reading Level Assessment Tools (at home)


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Additional Resources

Readola offers you and your students more than just award winning books. Readola is also a Reading Plan, aligning your students with books in their reading level (instead of just age or grade). Readola includes unique tools to support your efforts to promote literacy. Reading Roadmaps, the Blue Ribbon Awards Collection, Books on Tour plus provided lesson plans guide students into becoming lifelong readers. 

Just like everything else in the classroom, the success of Readola hinges on teacher participation. Especially in today's challenging environment, Readola truly appreciates the time and effort of our school partners. Readola strives to repay that trust by providing the best in children's literature. Our goal is to be part of your instruction plan, not just another fundraiser!


  1. Create your profile.

  2. Build your own Recommended Reading Roadmap from the Blue Ribbon Awards Collection. Then help your students build theirs.

  3. Make sure to click the box to make your list public so students and families can explore your Roadmap.

  4. Do your students know their Lexile reading levels? Total Reader offers free assessments. There are conversion charts for other reading level assessments.

  5. Communicate the link to your classroom community. Integrate Readola teaching tools as you see fit. 

If you choose to allow donations, post your student's Donation Dog certificates for each one-hour block of reading. Donation Dog certificates are emailed to students when a supporter makes a donation. Encourage students to bring Donation Dog certificates to school so you can post them in the classroom or hallway. 

Take a few minutes of class time to have students fill out Reading Roadmaps. Remember, all children can participate, there is no purchase necessary. Readola has lesson plans available to tie in the award winning books we feature to your instructional goals.Got a great idea for a Readola Unites lesson plan? Submit your ideas and receive a free Curriculum Pack for each lesson plan we accept into the program!

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You'll get a head start if students take a quick and easy Lexile Assessment. We recommend Total Reader to get a reference to begin from. If you already have your Lexile number (or you've received a reading level conversion chart from Readola) - or if you just want to begin exploring by popular categories - let's go to the next step! Also available: Reading Level Assessment Tools

You're now ready to begin your Reading Adventure. How about tackling the Books on Tour Challenge? Once you've registered and logged in, explore the Blue Ribbon Awards Collection sorted by the state the title was nominated in. 

Include these instructions in your Friday Folder, weekly email, or classroom webpage!


  1. With the help of your parent, guardian or teacher, find your Lexile assessment. We recommend Total Reader.

  2. With the help of your parent, guardian or teacher, create your own user portal.

  3. Create your Reading Roadmap from over 3000 award nominated titles.

  4. Up for a real adventure? Complete the Books on Tour Challenge!

Super Tip: include a link to the Reading Roadmap page in your Friday Folder, weekly email, or classroom webpage...