Library Connections

Sterling USD #376 libraries ~ Spring 2016

Lemoncello Library Fun

SGS 5th and 6th grade students were given the option to sign up for an after-school library activity that included activities and a discussion over the book Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. Our library received a grant from the South Central Kansas Library System to buy multiple copies of the book and pay for snacks, activities, and prizes.

The special event, held after school May 13, included snacks and drinks, a library scavenger hunt, a board game based on the book, a book discussion, rebus puzzles, and prizes.

Because 4th-grade teachers read the book aloud to students, 4th graders played the board game and completed rebus puzzles during library skills class and storytime. One lucky 4th grade student won a drawing to receive a free copy of the book's sequel, Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics.

All together, 54 students participated in special activities centered around the Lemoncello books. Librarian Amy Brownlee plans to use the books and activities with students again in the future.

Students compete in Battle of the Books

Twenty 5th and 6th graders competed in the school’s first Battle of the Books at the Sterling Grade School library on May 17. The quiz bowl-type contest featured four teams of students answering questions about a list of 25 books they had read and studied on their own. After a round robin tournament, one team came out on top. The winning team was made up of 5th grade students Bella B., Payton I., Dalton M., Kate R., & Kaedyn S.

Each round consisted of 20 questions, including four quotes, asking students to identify a book on the list. Students earned 5 points for giving the correct title and could earn 5 additional points for knowing the author. Teammates were allowed to confer with each other before answering each question.

“It was fun,” said Bella B., a member of the winning team. “I liked being able to talk with my teammates to figure out the right answer.”

The event is one Sterling librarian Amy Brownlee had wanted to offer to students in the past, but creating all the questions herself for multiple practice and competition rounds was too time-intensive. This past fall when Brownlee attended a state library conference, she met a librarian in Topeka’s Auburn-Washburn district who was willing to share her district’s Battle of the Books guidelines and questions. “Because they’re a bigger district, there are more librarians who contribute questions, so it’s not all on one person,” Brownlee explained. “I am so grateful for their willingness to share so that we could bring this program to our students.”

The winning team members each received a gift certificate to Dairyland and a free book, but more than that, Brownlee said, they were benefiting from reading and discussing high-quality literature. “The books they read were all on this year’s William Allen White list, the statewide reader’s choice award for kids in 3rd-8th grade,” Brownlee explained. The list promotes well-written books that also appeal to children.

The contest was attended by 3rd-6th grade students, teachers, and parents of the team members. Brownlee plans to continue the program next year.

Readers earn ice cream party

Sixty-four students earned an ice cream sundae reward for outstanding participation in the William Allen White reading program. The hard-working readers were treated to ice cream with a variety of toppings on May 11.

The William Allen White (WAW) Children’s Book Award is a reader's choice award voted on by the kids of Kansas. Students in grades 3-8 may read books from the list of nominees, and if students read at least two books on the list, they are eligible to vote for their favorite in April.

According to Amy Brownlee, District Librarian, the William Allen White program is designed to get kids excited about reading by exposing them to great literature. “Our teachers are very supportive of the program, and many of them read some of the books aloud to their students. It’s fun to hear kids discussing the books and recommending titles to one another.”

Next year's WAW list has been announced and can be found online at These books would make great summer reading.

Seuss Celebration

During Read Across America week Feb. 29-March 4, some strange and unusual creatures roamed the halls of Sterling Grade School. Thing 1 and Thing 2, Cindy Lou Who, Horton the elephant, and even The Cat in the Hat himself were spotted during the special week of activities aimed at celebrating the importance of reading.

To celebrate Dr. Seuss, SGS students and staff participated in daily dress-up days centered around Dr. Seuss books. Daily themes included: wear a hat (The Cat in the Hat), dress as your favorite Seuss character, wear green (Green Eggs and Ham), wear crazy or mismatched socks (Fox in Socks), and wear pajamas (I am Not Going to Get Up Today).

The school cafeteria served green eggs and ham for lunch on Seuss’s birthday, and students participated in Dr. Seuss-themed activities in Cindy Anthony’s music class. In the library, students listened to Seuss books read aloud, learned about his life, and watched Dr. Seuss movies.

A new activity this year was Reading Bingo, which was designed to promote reading outside of school. Each K-6 student received a Reading Bingo board to take home. The board for grades K-2 focused on when and where reading takes place (read in a closet, in the dark using a flashlight, after breakfast), and another board for grades 3-6 that included reading aloud, different types of reading (recipes, magazine articles), and responses to reading. Students earning a bingo by completing at least 5 reading activities could return their completed bingo boards to the library to earn a prize.

“Our students and staff had a great time celebrating Dr. Seuss this week,” Brownlee said. “It was fun to see the creativity in what people wore each day and hear them talking about their favorite book characters.”

Sterling Grade School Library

Amy Brownlee, District Librarian
Sherilyn McPherson, Library Assistant