A Reading Culture

The promotion of reading continues to be as important as ever in schools today.  Fortunately, access to excellent print and online resources has been expanded through the use of technology.  Digital resources such as apps, websites, and databases are engaging for students and can be utilized with iPads, laptops, and desktops.  Despite this increase in technology, getting real books into the hands of children should be the single most important mission of any library.

blueskunkblogImage from @jillsiefken

At my school, teachers use a variety of resources for reading instruction and promotion.  At the Primary (K-3) level, teachers use the Oxford Reading Tree series of levelled readers.  The RAZ Kids and Epic Books apps are also used with the school ipads.  To improve reading comprehension, teachers are using Adrienne Gear’s Reading Power with their students.  The school library collection is currently being expanded to include more picture books related to the Powers: Connect, Question, Visualize, Infer, and Transform.  PM Benchmarks is used to assess reading levels of all students.  Finally, in order to engage more students with reading, the primary teachers organized a “Book Competition” set up as a NCAA March Madness style Tournament Bracket where sets of books competed.  The students voted on the best book in each pair and books “advanced” to each round. This event was hugely successful in that the students heard or read all of the books and had opinions on the best books.

At the Intermediate (4-7) level, teachers use many novels and picture books to engage students in topics related to our Units of Inquiry.  Novels are used in Literature Circles, as read-alouds, and in full novel studies. To improve and assess nonfiction reading comprehension, teachers use online resources such as Currents4Kids and Newsela.  Both websites have engaging and informative articles on a wealth of topics.  In the near future, more books will need to be purchased to align more closely with the Big Ideas in our revised BC curriculum.

Even though the teachers at my school use many superb print and online resources in their classrooms, my hope, as the future Teacher-Librarian, is to increase the circulation of books in our library.  To do this, I hope to organize the space to feature fronts of books in displays, to upgrade signage, to update the collection, and to categorize both fiction and nonfiction books by genre. By improving the library space and collection and continuing to promote a reading culture in our school, books will have an even greater chance of getting in the hands of our students.

Siefken, J. [Jill Siefken]. (2018, May 22). [Good time of year to share this reminder from @BlueSkunkBlog #plaea #edchat]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/BlueSkunkBlog?lang=en&lang=en

Reading Review B


Creative Commons Image from Pixabay

For the last three years, the Caulfeild staff have been working with Lee Watanabe Crockett, president of the Global Digital Citizen Foundation, to use the Solution Fluency inquiry model in our school.  Through regular meetings, professional development activities, and small group sessions, Lee has supported our staff to build our capacity as inquiry teachers.  After reading his recent book, Growing Global Digital Citizens: Better Practices That Build Better Learners (2018), I have focused my attention on this important and increasingly relevant area of study.  As a future Teacher-Librarian, I hope to support my colleagues by teaching students information literacy and digital citizenship.  The following resources have helped me to better understand these topics of interest:

  1. Crockett, L. W. (February 25, 2016). Global Digital Citizenship—in 15 Minutes! [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/global-digital-citizenship-15-minutes-global-digital-citizen

This post is a great overview of global digital citizenship and has many excellent links to daily lessons on Personal Responsibility, Global Citizenship, Digital Citizenship, Altruistic Service, and Environmental Stewardship.  The Foundation has created a Code of Honour which could easily be used or adapted for students of all ages.

  1. Searson, M., Hancock, M., Soheil, N. et al. (December 2015). Digital citizenship within global contexts. Education and Information Technologies. 20(4), 729–741. Retrieved from https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.1007/s10639-015-9426-0

This article describes the iKeepSafe model – BEaPRO – that features the core competencies and skills required for digital citizenship.  Also, the article suggests the importance of ensuring all stakeholders are involved in the education and promotion of digital literacy.

  1. Crockett, L. W. (March/April 2018). Librarians lead the growth: of information literacy and global digital citizens. Knowledge Quest, 46(4), 28–33. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/be8b609a80d1cc18177bbdae06fbd586/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=6154

This article is an urgent call for librarians to teach global digital citizenship to students.  Crockett presents the Information Fluency Model, also known as the 5As: Ask, Acquire, Analyze, Apply, and Assess.  He also lists Five Steps to Effective Questions and offers a definition of global digital citizenship.

  1. Maughan, S. (Aug 18, 2017). School Librarians Are Teaching Digital CitizenshipRetrieved from https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/74535-school-librarians-are-teaching-digital-citizenship.html

This article features three educators and their experiences with digital citizenship.  Topics explored include fake news, cyberbullying, and the increasing use of social media.  Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship are included with links to additional resources.

  1. Province of British Columbia. (2018). Digital Literacy Framework. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/kindergarten-to-grade-12/teach/teaching-tools/digital-literacy-framework.pdf

The Framework describes the six characteristics that 21st century learners require:
1) Research and Information Literacy, 2) Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making, 3) Creativity and Innovation, 4) Digital Citizenship, 5) Communication and Collaboration, and 6) Technology Operations and Concepts.  Examples of each characteristic are explained in detail for each grade range.


Crockett, L. W., & Churches, A. (2018). Growing Global Digital Citizens: Better Practices That Build Better Learners. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Reading Review A

Caulfeild wordle

Wordle by A. Smith

In the spring of 2016, I made a conscious decision to apply for a teaching position at a school in our district that was focused on inquiry and technology.  The moment was both exhilarating and frightening at the same time. Although I had been teaching with an inquiry mindset for several years, I considered myself a newbie when it came to technology.  I had piloted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) with my Gr. 5/6 class, dabbled with Google Classroom, used FreshGrade (e-portfolio) and Edublogs with my students, and yet I still felt I needed to learn more.  Nevertheless, I applied for the job because I wanted to throw myself into the unknown and learn new skills.

The job description detailed the technological expertise required:

  • Proficient with Google Apps for Education, e-portfolios and blogging;
  • Experience utilizing digital tools that span the SAMR model of digital tools.

Also, teachers must be able to:

  • Demonstrate leadership with implementing/embedding the use of digital tools into student learning;
  • Promote digital literacy authentically and purposefully by integrating technology into curricular areas;
  • Demonstrate a willingness to explore ways of developing effective digital citizenship in their students.

In September, I quickly immersed myself in the new school culture at Caulfeild Elementary and found myself learning, along with my Gr. 4/5 class, how to navigate all of the online offerings: Google Classroom and Google apps, IXL, Mathletics, and Khan Academy (Math), Currents4kids and Newsela (Reading Comprehension), Duolingo (French), Typing Club, Scratch (Coding), Discovery Education (Science), Prezi and Google Slides (Presentation), World Book Online (Research), and all the ERAC databases.  These resources replaced textbooks and were more engaging for the students.

However, I discovered that students had little knowledge on how to effectively search for information online.  Almost all students just typed in questions or keywords into the Google bar and then looked at the top 2 or 3 websites.  Clearly they needed to be taught how to find age-appropriate, relevant, and accurate information! This topic continues to be important to me.  As a future teacher-librarian, I feel very strongly that I need to teach students how to use more advanced techniques such as using Google search operators, analyzing websites, and developing critical thinking skills.

As I have now been at the school for nearly two years, my focus is also turning to global digital citizenship.  I want our students to expand their learning outside of our school to collaborate and connect with others.  So many of our Inquiry Units focus on larger issues, such as environmental stewardship or empathy for others.  These topics should be explored on a global level by students so that they understand the diverse issues that affect others around the world.  Through greater understanding, my hope is that our students become change-makers and take action to help solve the problems facing our global community.



I am an intermediate teacher at Caulfeild Elementary in the West Vancouver School District.  My name is Andrea Smith and I live in Squamish with my husband and 15 year-old son.  I have worked in the West Vancouver School District since 1995, teaching Kindergarten to Grade 7 in six different schools.  I am currently teaching 30 Grade 5/6 students at a school that is focused on Inquiry and Technology.

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Image by A. Smith