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Encouraging a Love of Reading

November, 2009
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"A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors” — Charles Baudelaire.

As a librarian in this day and age, it is my goal to challenge the students to become 21st Century learners. With all the new technologies available, there is an increasingly pressing need to encourage them to read widely and to discover the advantages of reading. Reading provides us with meaning and helps us to understand life and ourselves.

As the Head Librarian at Shanghai Community International School, I encourage all of our students to choose books that interest them, and to keep a journal about their reading. Literacy specialists recommend that ‘giving children a say’ in what they read can help motivate them, and I believe that it also helps instill a lifelong love of reading. However, as librarians and parents, it is also important that we point them toward high-quality literature.

How do we begin? Well firstly, we need to have books available!!

The libraries ensure that they have books that are of high interest and that reflect the interests and needs of our community. Students have a say in the books they would like to see in the libraries, through the “Student Choices” forum. New books are purchased monthly to make sure that the high demand for good titles is met.

http://readkiddoread.com is James Patterson’s website which has great recommendations for reluctant readers, and for those children who seem to spend all their time on their computers!

We need to make sure we work alongside technology so that books (audio and digital) can be downloaded.

Once we have ensured that the books are available, we then need to look at each child and:

* Find out their interests

* Discover whether they are visual or auditory learners

Once we know this we can guide them in their choices to find books that are “just right” for them.

If they are visual learners, steer them towards graphic novels and well-illustrated books.

If they are auditory learners, steer them toward digital resources and read aloud to them. There are many websites available that have great books that are read aloud. KC Cherkasky SCIS ESOL CORDINATOR recommends www.storyline.com, where the authors themselves read their books aloud.

Everyone, from teachers, parents, administrators, to peers has to become an advocate for reading.

Read with your children and together you will uncover the joy that is found within the pages of a book.


Recommended Books of the Month:


boyd_sBoyd McCloyd and the Perpetual Motion Machine

Author: Randall P. Girdner, a teacher at SCIS Pudong Campus

The book is perfect for kids from grades 4 – 8. (Ages 9-12). On the day that the fattest, sweatiest man in Hong Kong kidnapped his parents, thirteen-year-old Boyd McCloyd found out he had a new job from an eight-foot tall yeti in a pinstripe suit. The job in question: Boyd was to continue to produce yearly editions of The Almanac of the Twisted and Weird (the world’s number one printed resource for the odd and unusual, macabre and profane, twisted and…weird). However, because Boyd had inherited this job from the venerable Confucius Ping, he also inherited Mr. Ping’s enemies, every one of which had made it their lifelong goal to destroy everything that Mr. Ping represented. This dastardly and treacherous group of werewolves, leprechauns, mutant swordfish, dwarf giants, and various other cadres of criminals includes the very man who has kidnapped Boyd’s parents: Mr. Fang.

mysterious_sThe Mysterious Benedict Society and The Perilous Journey

Author: Trenton Lee Stewart

This book was recommended by our grade 6 students, who were intrigued by the brainteasers, danger, and they loved working out the clues.

The Mysterious Benedict Society is back with a new mission: a mind-bending international scavenger hunt designed to test their individual talents. As they search for all the clues and riddles Mr. Benedict has hidden for them, Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance face an unexpected challenge that will reinforce the reasons they were brought together in the first place and require them to fight for the very namesake that united them. 

beastly_sShark Shock

Author: Andy Baxter

Recommended by kids, 2Heads involves children and parents at all stages in the development of our books to make sure that kids really want to read them.

Max Murphy can turn into animals! And with the sinister Professor Slynk always on his tail, he’s in for some adventures he can really get his teeth into!

The Murphy parents are shark watching in Colombia, and Max and his twin Molly are along for the boat ride. Max’s heart sinks when he sees Professor Slynk, but he quickly discovers life’s just as dangerous overboard—especially for a shark…

This series is well illustrated, has fun facts, and has been well reviewed by students from 8-11 years old.

Great read for boys who love adventure and for books that blend adventure with facts!

peter-and_sPeter and the Starcatchers

Author: Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

SCIS Grade 5 students met with Ridley Pearson and his wife and children when they resided in Shanghai in 2008-2009. The children attended SCIS School and the family introduced these great adventures to our students.

How did a flying boy first meet a certain one-handed pirate?

Deep in the hold of leaky old ship the Never Land, a mysterious chest is guarded night and day. Does it contain gold, jewels or something much more valuable? Orphan boy Peter is determined to find out. But he is not the only one after the precious cargo…

Turn back the clock to J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan in this impossible-to-put-down tale of skullduggery and treachery, raging storms and bone-crushing battles, mermaids and talking porpoises!



By Margie de Villiers, Head Librarian at Shanghai Community International School, as well as member of the Shanghai Librarians Network



The Shanghai Librarians Network is a forum for the dedicated school librarians of these schools, to work together, share experiences, resources and organise activities that bring the school communities in and around Shanghai together.

Membership is open to librarians of international organisations in Shanghai and Suzhou.

The network meets on a monthly basis, and the member schools take turns in hosting these meetings. Activities range from sharing best practice in procuring library materials, to the development of library information skills programmes and the organisation of interschool competitions to promote reading. The network also organises visits to places of specific interest to Librarians, like the Jesuit Library in Xujiahui and the Shanghai Library.

Currently the network has 20 members who keep in touch on a daily basis via their online forum. Little Star will host a regular column, where the members will take turns to share their views and ideas on different reading topics, and to provide helpful tips and hints to encourage everyone to become life long readers. The Recommended Books feature will showcase our personal choices in the best of books available in our Libraries.


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