Using Technology to Promote YA Literature

Thanks to all my teacher librarian friends who submitted ideas for my ISTE11 poster session – it went great and everyone was impressed with all of YOUR ideas.  First of all I had an excellent location (thanks ISTE) right across from the Blogger’s Cafe.  For two hours straight I shared your fabulous ideas.  I handed out over 175 newsletters with your ideas and made QR codes for the “green” folks who just wanted access to the website at

Download the PDF handout here and view the presentation used to share your fabulous ideas.  Thanks Again!!!

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker By Paolo Bacigalupi
ISBN: 9780316056212
Published by: Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010
Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Literature Circle Unit description with goals

The Literature Circle unit is geared towards eighth grade students who are reading Ship Breaker (2010) by Paolo Bacigalupi.  This dystopian novel takes place in the future when global warming and climatic disasters have altered the physical landscape on earth.  Communities have forever been altered.  This is a story of a young boy who dreams of a better life and whose adventures with a young girl might change his life forever.

The goal of the three literature circle meetings is to set the stage for reading the novel, analyze the characters and their motives, predict outcomes of the ending, and analyze themes and literary devices.

Oregon State standards


  • Decoding and Word Recognition:
    • EL.08.RE.01 Read or demonstrate progress toward reading at an independent and instructional reading level appropriate to grade level.
  • Listen to and Read Informational and Narrative Text
    • EL.08.RE.02 Listen to, read, and understand a wide variety of informational and narrative text, including classic and contemporary literature, poetry, magazines, newspapers, reference materials, and online information.
    • EL.08.RE.03 Make connections to text, within text, and among texts across the subject areas.
    • EL.08.RE.05 Match reading to purpose–location of information, full comprehension, and personal enjoyment.
    • EL.08.RE.06 Understand and draw upon a variety of comprehension strategies as needed–rereading, self-correcting, summarizing, class and group discussions, generating and responding


  • Listen to and Read Literary Text:
    • EL.08.LI.02 Demonstrate listening comprehension of more complex literary text through class and/or small group interpretive discussions
  • Literary Text:  Demonstrate General Understanding
    • EL.08.LI.03  Identify and/or summarize sequence of events, main ideas, and supporting details in literary selections
  • Literary Text:  Develop an Interpretation.
    • EL.08.LI.04  Predict probable future outcomes supported by the text, including foreshadowing clues.
    • EL.08.LI.05  Identify the actions and motives (e.g., loyalty, selfishness, conscientiousness) of characters in a work of fiction, including contrasting motives that advance the plot or promote the theme, an discuss their importance to the plot or theme.
    • EL.08.LI.06  Identify and analyze the development of themes in literary works based on evidence in the text.
    • EL.08.LI.07  Infer the main idea when it is not explicitly stated, and support with evidence from the text.
    • EL.08.LI.08  Infer unstated reasons for actions based on evidence from the text.
  • Literary Text:  Examine Content and Structure
    • EL.08.LI.12  Analyze the importance of setting (place, time, customs) to the mood, tone, and meaning of the text.
    • El.08.LI.14 Evaluate the structural elements of the plot, such as subplots, parallel episodes, and climax, including the way in which conflicts are (or are not) addressed and resolved.
    • El.08.LI.15 Identify and analyze recurring themes (e.g., good versus evil) across traditional and contemporary works.

First Meeting

Book Genre:  Dystopian novels often shows a futuristic society that has degraded into a repressive and controlled state. Dystopian literature usually has underlying cautionary tones, warning society that if we continue to live how we do, this will be the consequence.  This is true in the novel, Ship Breaker.  The story takes place in a post-oil future when climate change has altered the earth and major cities are underwater.  Large conglomerate companies are fighting for control of recycled resources.  Massive iron ships are left to rust away on the shores while poor, uneducated communities break them apart and sell the materials to the companies.  Global warming has caused continuous hurricanes that further rip apart and destroy the cites.  Communities have abandoned what used to be major cities and relocated further inland.

Ship Breaker is about a poor boy, Nailer Lopez, who makes his living crawling through abandoned ducts of rusty old ships pulling copper wire for his crew.  He dreams of what life would be like on the fast, updated clipper ships he sees far off in the horizon.  Luck comes his way when he and a friend find a broken clipper ship after a Category 6 hurricane.  While looking through the wreckage, they discover a young girl, barely alive.  The two friends rescue the girl who promises that her wealthy shipping magnate family will reward them richly.  Unfortunately, Nailer’s drunken father discovers the wreckage first, captures the girl, and plans to salvage the material to make some quick money. Nailer and company escape to the port of Orleans in search of allies of the girl’s father.  Along the way they learn how to survive on their own, who to trust and the true meaning of family.

Anticipatory  questions

  1. Describe dystopian novels.  What makes them so interesting to read?  What are some other titles you might have read?  Ideas:  The Giver, The Hunger Games trilogy, Chaos Walking Series, Feed
  2. This book takes place in the future when the oceans have risen and major seaport cities are now underwater.  Why do you think the author, Paolo Bacigalupi has chosen this topic?
  3. Do you AGREE or DISAGREE with the following statements:
    1. The blood ties among families usually are strong enough to overcome betrayals.
    2. Loyalty is the most important part of a relationship between family or friends.
    3. Our successes in life often have as much to do with luck as with our choices or abilities.
    4. When in danger, it is best to play it safe rather than take a risk.
    5. In a life-or-death situation, almost any action is forgivable.
  4. Explain your rationale for one of the statements above.
  5. Watch the promotional video for this book at Were you surprised that even today there are ship breaking operations in poorer areas like Bangladesh?

Read Chapters 1- 13 (pages 1-164).  Assign roles for next literature circle:

  • Artful artist uses some form of artwork to represent a significant scene or ideas from the reading
  • Literary luminary points out interesting or important passages within the reading
  • Discussion director write questions that will lead to discussion by the group
  • Capable connector finds connections between the reading materials and something outside the text, such as a personal experience, a topic studied in another class, or a different work of literature.
  • Word wizard discusses words in the text that are unusual, interesting or difficult to understand.

Second Meeting

This is the point in the novel when Nailer’s drunken father finds the wreckage and holds his friend, Prim, hostage.  Nailer is sick with a fever and things are looking very bad for all of them.  Nailer convinces his father that the girl, Nita, is more valuable alive than dead.  Nailer falls sick but is nursed back to health by Prim.   Nailer and his friends are trying to make plans to escape but first they must deal with his father’s hoodlum friends and a strange half-man half-dog creature named Tool.

Discussion questions

  1. Each member should share something from their assigned role of the literature circle.
  2. Locate and discuss the following quotes from the book:
    1. “No one was worth keeping if they didn’t make a profit”  p18
    2. “We’re crew”, he reminded her, “We swore blood oath” p28
    3. “Being close to death made everything in his life shine”  p42
    4. “This swank girl wasn’t crew.  He didn’t owe her anything.  But now, after his time in the oil room, all he could think of was how much he’d wanted Sloth to believe his life was just as important as hers.”  p99
    5. “Pima grinned.  Damn, the swanks and the rust rats are all the same at the end of the day.  Everyone’s looking to get a little blood on their hands”  pg 163
  3. How is the relationship between Nailer and Sloth different than Nailer and Prim or Nita?
  4. What’s more important:  being lucky or being smart?
  5. Discuss the concept of:  The Fates, Scavenge Gods, Lucky Strike, Rust Saint
  6. The author compares the rage of Nailer’s drunken father to a “storm brewing. full of undertows and crashing surf and water spouts – the deadly weather that buffeted Nailer every day as he tried to navigate the coastlines of his father’s moods”.  Why does the author write this way?  Look for other similar examples.
  7. Predict what is going to happen with Nailer and Nita.

Read Chapters 14- 25 (pages 165-326).  Assign roles for final literature circle:

  • Artful artist uses some form of artwork to represent a significant scene or ideas from the reading
  • Literary luminary points out interesting or important passages within the reading
  • Discussion director write questions that will lead to discussion by the group
  • Capable connector finds connections between the reading materials and something outside the text, such as a personal experience, a topic studied in another class, or a different work of literature.
  • Word wizard discusses words in the text that are unusual, interesting or difficult to understand.

Author profile pathfinder

  1. This is author Paulo Bacigalupi’s first Young Adult novel.  Previously he has written Science Fiction for adults.  Often he has underlying themes about sustainability in his novels.  Visit the publisher’s  website at .  Find out which awards Ship Breaker was nominated for and won.
  2. Read interview with Paola Bacigalupi from Denver Westword News:   Sci-fi phenom Paolo Bacigalupi has seen the future
  3. If you like Dystopian novels, you might consider these other resources:
    1. 50+ Fantastic Young Adult Dystopian Novels –
    2. YAs Dystopia –
    3. New Dystopian YA Novels to Pair with Old Favorites –

Final Meeting

Discussion questions

  1. Each member should share something from their assigned role of the literature circle
  2. Recap the events of the 2nd half of the book with the discussion prompt “…and then”.  The first student tells an important event.  The next person says “…and then” and continues with another important event.  Keep going around the circle until the end of the story.
  3. Locate and discuss the following quotes from the book and relate them to themes of loyalty, family, courage, betrayal, risk-taking, fortune, friendship, pain or redemption:
    1. “Sada shook her head.  Killing isn’t free. It takes something out of you every time you do it.  You get their life; they get a piece of you soul.  It’s always a trade.”  p174
    2. “They used to drill out there, too, in the Gulf.  Cut up the islands.  It’s why the city killers are so bad.  There used to be barrier island, but they cut them up for their gas drilling” p199
    3. “Spending money on the poor is like throwing money into a fire.  They’ll just consume it and never thank you”, Tool said.  p209
    4. “You are no more Richard Lopez than I am an obedient hound.  Blood is not destiny, no matter what other may believe”.  p248
    5. “Nailer made a face.  Lucky Girl’s more of a family than he is”  p251
    6. “Pima’s mom works a thousand times harder than you and she’s never going to have a life as nice as what you go on this boat.  He shrugged.  If that ain’t being born with the lucky eye, I don’t know what is.”  p253
    7. “Richard never felt a thing when he hurt people.  Just didn’t give a damn.  It’s good that you feel something.  Trust me.  Even if it hurts, it’s good.”  p318
  4. Review the AGREE or DISAGREE statements from before the students read the novel.  Does anyone want to change their opinion?  Why or why not?
    1. The blood ties among families usually are strong enough to overcome betrayals.
    2. Loyalty is the most important part of a relationship between family or friends.
    3. Our successes in life often have as much to do with luck as with our choices or abilities.
    4. When in danger, it is best to play it safe rather than take a risk.
    5. In a life-or-death situation, almost any action is forgivable.
  5. In an interview, Bacigalupi states, “We’re good at solving the short-term problem and ignoring the long-term consequence.”  How is this statement reflected in Ship Breaker.  Bacigalupi says he may have a dismal view of humanity, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a fan of man’s cooler inventions, including bicycles and computers. “It’s not technology’s fault that it’s devastating, An individual car is never a problem; it’s when we have 350 million of them.”  Do you agree?
  6. Some science topics were hinted in this book:  wind energy, genetic engineering, climate change, kudzu vines, extreme weather.  Consider exploring them further.
  7. Do you think there will be a sequel?  How do you think Tool, Prima, Sadu or Nita’s father will be involved?


Information Literacy Collaborative Unit

Copy of this entire project (pdf) I created this unit for one of Library courses but several people asked me to share my process of using Google Forms as “digital notecards” – See Lesson #2.

High School Literary Criticism Research Paper


Throughout the semester in English III, students have been reading and analyzing various literary novels and writing their own essays with supporting quotes and documentation from the novel.  In this research project, students choose an acclaimed American novel or play, read it and then use published literary criticism to help support their thesis statement about the novel.

Enduring Understandings

  • Authentic research involves an ethical and legal use of information and information technology.
  • While the purpose of research is to consider the ideas of others, the researcher should use these to support, not replace one’s own.
  • With today’s influx of information, we need to be savvy, critical users of information, paying attention to source, bias, and responsible research.
  • Utilizing the research process allows for a more authentic presentation.
  • Utilizing the writing process allows for thoughtful clarification of ideas.


Teacher’s objectives and goals

Essential Questions:

  • How can I use the ideas of others in order to support my own?
  • What is more important:  product or process?
  • Whose ideas are these? What bias do they hold?
  • When is a piece of writing finished?


  • Students will choose an American novel or play from an approved list to read and annotate.
  • Students will create an Annotated Bibliography to practice summarizing main ideas from literary criticism and evaluating a source’s effectiveness for research project.
  • Students will create an outline as the “blueprint” for their research paper. This is a sentence outline which will dictate how the paper is organized (but it does not include quotations from work or research).
  • The students will write a research paper centered on an American work (novel or play) of their choice. This 5-7 page paper will be supported with at least five outside sources and written in MLA format.


  • Perform research focused on a theme or character development in a novel.
  • Annotate a novel following a theme or character development.
  • Analyze secondary sources and incorporate these thoughts and ideas into the paper.
  • Determine when to summarize or paraphrase research instead of using a direct quote.


Library teacher’s objectives and goals

Essential Questions:

  • How do I locate relevant resources about my novel or author?
  • How can I show that my sources are quoted, summarized or paraphrased?
  • How can technology tools be used to help me sort and organize my research?


  • Students will be able to access quality print, electronic and web resources about literary criticism related to their novel and author.
  • Students will be able to evaluate these materials for usefulness and select resources that support their thesis statement.
  • Students will be able to cite the resources used in correct MLA format.
  • Students will use “digital notecards” (Google form/spreadsheet) to document sources, quotes, and summaries from print, electronic and web resources.

LMS/Teacher Unit Overview using Big 6 Model


BIG 6 MODEL Students / Classroom Teacher Librarian
JAN Students select an acclaimed American novel or play and begin reading Librarian assists students in locating novel or play
JAN Task Definition:
Big Ideas
Student annotate novel looking for themes, POV, conflict, symbols, character growth/importance/function or complexityStudents write a summary of novel to check for understandingTeacher reviews the concept of literary criticism.  Students complete quotation search and commentary assignment.
Information Seeking Strategies:
Evaluate resources for  accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs and importance.Location & Access:
Literary Criticism books
Reference Books
Students come to library to locate resources Lesson #1: Librarian introduces search strategies for locating and evaluating print, electronic and web resources.
February – wk. 1 Use of Information:
Note taking
Citing sources
Students locate 3-5 sources and create an Annotated Bibliography in a Google document which is shared with classroom teacher.Students write the first draft of their thesis statement. Librarian teaches students how to access their Google Apps accounts, plus document and sharing basics
wk2 Quotes
Students come to Library computer lab to set up their forms and practice taking notes from their novel/play. Lesson #2: Librarian instructs students in how to access the Google templates to use a form for “digital notecards”.
wk3-4 Students use form to create 50 entries from their novel, literary criticism, reference and web sources. Librarian checks with students on progress and needs for additional sources
wk5 Synthesis:
Students organize their notes and create an outline of ideas to support their thesis statement.
wk6 First draft
Students type a first draft of their paper in Google document and share with classroom teacher
wk7 Citations Students finalize their Works Cited page for all of their sources Librarian assists students in creation of Works Cited following MLA format.
wk8 Revisions
Students edit rough draft with revisions and type final paper.
wk9 Evaluation:
Self- evaluation rubric
Student self-evaluationTeacher evaluation


Lesson #1:  Locating and evaluating sources for Literary Criticism



Students will gather literary criticism from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and complete an annotated bibliography.

Anticipatory set:

You have read your novel and annotated various sections of your book while looking for: themes, point of view, conflict, symbols, character growth/importance/function or complexity.  Question to ask:   How can I use the literary criticism of others to support my own views and opinions of this novel?

Input (from Classroom Teacher):

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

  • A bibliography is a list of sources
  • An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation of a source.
  • An Annotated Bibliography is a typed document which contains bibliographic entries followed by a summary and evaluation of the source.

Why are we doing this?

  • Writing an annotated bibliography will allow you an early look at what the critics say about your novel.
  • It will also allow you to practice making MLA citations which will be required in your paper.
  • Writing an annotated bibliography demands that you paraphrase and summarize literary criticism.  These are skills you will need to use for this assignment as well as others in your academic career.

Modeling (done by Librarian):

Locating Sources:

  • Literary criticism books in our school library.  Search the OPAC for your author’s last name.  Ignore results that are fiction, instead focus on Dewey numbers 813.009.  Locate the print title on the shelves and check to see if the book is about your novel.  Some books contain several essays about a novel from various authors and each of these essays can be used as a separate source.
  • Reference books in our Library:  Frank Magill’s Masterplots, American Novelists, Contemporary Authors, Gale’s Contemporary Literary Criticism, etc., – check reference section.
  • Literature Resource Center from Gale.  Access this database from Library webpage (you will need password) and search by your author’s last name.  Look for articles marked literary criticism; avoid book reviews
  • Literature database from ProQuest.  Access this database from Library webpage (you will need password) and search by your author’s last name.  Look for articles marked literary criticism; avoid book reviews
  • The Internet Public Library (IPL) Guide to Literary Criticism:
  • Gale Literary Index – A master index to every literary series published by Gale (such as Contemporary Literary Criticism, Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, etc.). Search by author, title or nationality.

Evaluating sources:

  • Check to make sure the source is relevant and accurate:  Is the source literary criticism or just a book review?  Does this essay contain information about your novel; not just other works by the same author.  This is especially important when evaluating sources from the databases.
  • Check the authority:  Who is writing the essay?  What are their qualifications to review the novel?
  • Check the bias:  These essays will give the author’s opinion about the novel.  Try to find sources from various points of view.

Check for Understanding:

  • During the review of the various sources, students will indicate on a notecard which sources they are going to check first.  Review with a partner how to locate that source and what they are going to do when they locate it.  Share some of these ideas with the class.

Guided Practice:

  • Students will then look for print and digital materials in the school library.  Students will photocopy pages from print sources as well as the page that contains the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.
  • Once a source has been located, the students will skim and read through the material.  They should try to get an overall understanding of what the source is saying and make sure it contains information that support, compliments or gives new ideas for their thesis statement, for example:    Does the source address some of the ideas you have considered for your paper?  Does the article suggest something about your novel you may not have considered?  Students should also look at the authority of the source and check for bias.
  • For the annotated bibliography, students will need to select three sources.  Students should type out the correct MLA citation for the first source (use MLA handout or for reference).  Write a summary that paraphrases the points in the literary criticism.  Write the summary in your own words and place it below the citation.
  • Check with a partner or the teacher that you have completed the first citation and summary correctly before moving onto the next step.

Independent Practice:

  • Students should complete the above process for each source.  The annotated bibliography should include at least one print and one electronic source.  Use the MLA handout (linked on Library website) to review formatting of MLA citations.  The annotated bibliography should contain at least 3 sources but it can contain more.  You may not end up using all of these sources in your actual essay.




Objective Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Needs Improvement
Locate print resource from school library Student is able to locate multiple literary criticism print sources independently using Library OPAC. Student is able to locate literary criticism print source(s) with assistance. Student does not locate literary criticism print source from school library or only uses electronic sources.
Locate sources from electronic database or website Student is able to locate multiple literary criticism sources independently from Gale or ProQuest database. Student is able to locate literary criticism source from Gale or ProQuest database with assistance. Student does not locate literary criticism database or web sources.
Source Evaluation Student chooses a wide variety of sources to support their thesis statement and is relevant, accurate and has appropriate authority.  They may have chosen materials from varied points of view or from advanced scholarly material. Students choose sources to support their thesis statement that is relevant, accurate and has appropriate authority. Students choose sources that do not support their thesis statement or choose irrelevant or inaccurate material.
Annotated Bibliography Contains 3+ proper MLA citations.  Contains detailed summaries of each source that demonstrates a strong understanding of the material. Contains three proper MLA citations.  Contains appropriate summary of each source. Contains missing or improper MLA citation.  Contains missing or summaries that are too vague, does not demonstrate understanding of material or is copied directly from source.



Lesson #2:  Using technology tools to create “digital notecards”



Students will access an electronic form/spreadsheet to take notes from their literary criticism sources (novel, literary criticism essays, reference material, electronic databases, websites, etc.) to support their thesis statement.

Anticipatory set:

Ask yourself this question:  How can I use the ideas of others in order to support my own ideas? You have already located resources for your essay and have written a summary of the material with your Annotated Bibliography.  Now it is time to carefully read the material and locate quotes, ideas or themes that will support your thesis statement.


Google Apps for Education

  • Each student has a unique Google Apps for Education account that gives them access to an online word processing and a forms/spreadsheet program.
  • The teacher can create a template that students can access for the digital notecards form.
  • The Google form allows you to quickly take notes from each source.  The form includes information such as:  Source title, author, type of source (novel, literary criticism, reference, database, website, other, etc.), topic, subtopic, quote, summary and notes for the teacher (optional).  See sample.
  • The information entered into a Google form automatically fills an adjoining spreadsheet.  The data in the spreadsheet can be sorted by any category (topic, source) which will make the process of organizing and synthesizing the research material much easier.
  • Google spreadsheets can be shared with the classroom teacher so they have access at any point during the research process.  The teacher can open the spreadsheet and write notes or give advice to individual students.
  • The use of the Google form and spreadsheet allows the student to access the same document from any computer, anytime.  This means the student can work on their research from school or home and do not have to worry about emailing drafts back and forth or remembering to save the data on a flash drive or losing 3×5 index cards.  Students access their Google Apps accounts online at:


  • The Librarian should model for the students how to use a Google form to take notes from the novel and from a literary criticism source.  The purpose of this quick review is to help students get an overall understanding of how to use a form, why we are using a Google form and spreadsheet instead of paper notecards and how we are going to be able to sort the data afterwards.
  • Have the students explain to the Librarian how to fill out the sample form using a previously read literature novel.  Repeat the process from a literary criticism source.

Guided Practice:

Accessing the Google form template:

  • The librarian should walk the students through this process step-by-step to avoid confusion on how to create and use the Google form.
  • Log into your Google Apps account at
  • Go to Create New / from Template.  Browse the list of La Salle Prep’s templates and select:  Digital Notecards for Research Paper.
  • Important Note:  The template opens in Edit view.  The only thing you do at this point is change the title of your form to include your name.  Select SAVE.   Select the link at the bottom of the form to access the “live form”.  This will open up a new tab in your browser with the actual form.  It’s OK at this point to close the “edit view” and template gallery browser tabs.

Entering Notes

  • You will now fill out the form for your first notecard.  Locate the title from your source and type it into the form.  Next add the author and indicate with a check mark whether this source is from a:  your novel, literary criticism, reference, database, website, or other (you fill in the blank).
  • Determine a topic from the source.  You may also want to choose a subtopic.  (Hint:  Relate the topics to your thesis statement, if possible.  The topic might be character’s name; subtopic might be a characteristic of that person).
  • In the Quote section, type the exact quote from the source and use quotation marks.  Indicate a page number if it is a print source.
  • In the Summary/Notes section, write a brief explanation of how you are planning on using this source in your essay.
  • The “questions for the teacher” section is optional.
  • Choose SUBMIT when you are done with the first notecard.  You will see a response after submitting indicating that the notecard has been added to the spreadsheet.

Check for Understanding:

  • Have the students close the form and open the adjoining Google spreadsheet to make sure the first notecard was recorded properly.
  • Students should change the name on the spreadsheet to include their name and class period.  They should select the SHARE button in the top right hand section of the spreadsheet and type the teacher’s Google docs email sharing address in the sharing section, such as:  Select SAVE.  Now the teacher will have access to the spreadsheet.
  • Important Note:  When the student is ready to access the form again they do it from the spreadsheet!  With the spreadsheet open, go to Form / Live Form to open the form so you can add additional notecards.  Each time the form is filled out and submitted, a new entry is added to the spreadsheet.  It is critical that the students access the form this way – do not go back to the template gallery and create a new form or you will have duplicate spreadsheets.
  • The teacher or librarian should check to make sure that the student is filling out the form and spreadsheet properly before moving onto Independent Practice.

Independent Practice:

  • Students should complete about 50 notecards for their essay.  About half of the quotes should be from their novel and half from their criticism sources.
  • Note:  Some students might find it easier to type their notes directly into the spreadsheet instead of using the form.  Either method is fine.




Objective Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Needs Improvement
Create Google form from template Student is able to create the Google form from the template independently. Student is able to create the Google form from the template with assistance. Student does not create form correctly, or makes duplicate forms from template.
Quality of notecards Notecards have all required information plus detailed explanations of how the quotes will be used in the essay. Notecards have all required information. Notecards are missing important information, summaries are of poor quality, or have not indicated appropriate source or type.
Spreadsheet with notes 50+ notecards are added to the adjoining spreadsheet and the student has sorted the spreadsheet according to source or topic.  Spreadsheet is shared with teacher. 50 notecards are added to the adjoining spreadsheet.  Spreadsheet is shared with teacher. Less than 50 notecards are added to the adjoining spreadsheet, or there are multiple spreadsheets with a few notecards on each one.  Spreadsheet is NOT shared with teacher.


Copy of this entire project (pdf)

Got books? Promoting YA literature using Technology

Reach your teen audience with creative ways that promote reading and Young Adult literature using free or open-source technology tools.

1.  READ Posters: Following the format of READ posters create by the American Library Association, take photos of staff members and students dressed in costumes holding a companion book.  Add the words READ and a quote. Use free editing software (GIMP, Open office, Picasa, Big Huge Labs, Aviary) to make the posters. You can also use ALA’s READ generator:

2.  Book Trailers: Create short book trailers using free video editing software (iMovie, MovieMaker, Photostory) to promote new books that are being released.  Include images, titles, narration and audio music. Embed the movies on your library home page.

3.  Wall Wisher for Read Alikes! Set up a wallwisher page ( to have students suggest books for read alikes.  For example:  If you liked “The Hunger Games” then read …  Students can add their own suggestions and images of book cover to the wall.

4.  Bathroom Graffiti with QR codes: Entice students to learn about new books in the Library using QR codes.  Create fun posters and place them in the bathroom stalls.  Include a QR code on the poster. When the student scans the QR code with their mobile device, the code reveals information about the new book.  Great for scavenger hunts too!

5.  Teen Book Video Awards: Have students nominate their favorite novels all year long.  Get your book club to be the “Academy” and narrow down the nominations to 3 in different genres.  Create a short videos or large posters for each genre and have students vote on their favorite.  Hold your own Teen Book Award ceremony in the Library (include a red carpet and paparazzi!)

6.  Digital frames for book promotions: Using free photo editing software (or even PowerPoint) make 5×7 photos of book covers and titles that say “recommended by …”.  Select books with a theme (author studies, Graphic Novels, Banned Books, a specific genre) and display the photos of those books in a digital picture frame.  Place on circulation desk for students to watch during check-out.

7.  Genre PSA: Have students create short 15/30 second audio Public Service Announcements (using Audacity, Garageband, etc) to be played over the school PA system during announcements.  Great for Teen Read or Banned Books Week.

8. Blogging with Book Buddies: Set up a blog with another book club to discuss the novels they are reading or recommend new titles.  Use free blog software like Blogger, EduBlogs, or Class Blogmeister.

9.  Guess the book: Display a colorful Wordle that includes words like: character names, locations, words that describe events or characters of a book along with a title “Guess the Book”.  Another idea is to make a Wordle Advertisement for a book.

10.  Author Labels: Use online forums like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, author blogs, and online book groups to help get your students excited about reading. Compile a brief list of links with additional info about an author or topic and print them on an address label. Stick the label in the books in a highly visible place–on the last page, or opposite the first page. Encourage your students to explore reading in their own territory (Thanks to Reading 2.o).

11.  Poetry break: Have students record themselves reading their own poetry or a published poem and save it onto a Mp3 player.  Create listening station with headphones in your Library for students to sit and listen.

Other great technology tools you can use: VoiceTread, Animoto, Toon Doo, Google Presentations, Blabberize, Google Maps and more!


  1. Book Trailers:
  2. Literacy on the Web:
  3. Reading 2.0 – Using Technology to Promote Books – not Replace them:

Directions for the projects will be posted at: