Aprender High School Library

Bi-monthly Newsletter Vol.1, Ed.1 - August/September 2013


600 W. Main Street, Old Main Campus, Alton, IL 62002

Apprender High School is home to grades 9-12.

Phone: (618) 555-9800

Fax: (618) 555-9890

Web: www.apprender.org

Library Hours:

Open 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Mon-Fri.

Open 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Tues.

CLOSED 11:50-12:20 pm daily during faculty lunch

Ms. Predny & Mrs. West, Librarians


Dear Aprender Aces,

We are the librarians at Aprender High School. We are excited to have you in our library this year. We have been teaching in the district a total of 26 years, and we have both been English teachers who share a love of literature. We are thrilled to introduce students to both quality fiction and nonfiction literature that is fun and exciting, and we also look forward to helping students with their research needs.

Student Info:

  • All students in grades 9‐12 are invited and encouraged to borrow library books from the school library.
  • Our library system is automated, so students need to bring in their student IDs to check out books and magazines.
  • Overdue notices will be emailed weekly to students, so you should be checking your school email account daily!
  • We have lots of great books and magazines for independent reading enjoyment.
  • We also have laptops and ipads that you can check out for homework or creative use.
  • Each computer in our library is equipped with databases for you to use in researching information. Simply stop by, text, or call to get the login and password.

Parent Info:

  • The Aprender High School library also has a web page that can be accessed by going to www.aprender.org.
  • From the home page, search on the left side and click on Library.
  • Check out all the great resources such as homework helpers, recommended reads, the library catalog, and so much more. We hope that you and your student have fun and enjoy all that the library has to offer.

Faculty Info:

  • On our school website page, search on the left side and click on Library.
  • Check out all the great resources such as research links, classroom connections, the library catalog, and more.
  • We have new Common Core reference materials for checkout to help in lesson development.
  • We have new teacher apps on our ipads which are available for checkout.
  • We are always interested in collaborating with classroom teachers; just stop by to chat, or email us some suggestions for ways we can assist you!

We invite everyone to stop by and visit our beautiful library media center. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us using any of the various methods we have listed on our profiles above. Happy Reading!

Partners In Literacy Education,

Ms. Predny and Mrs. West


The Fabulousness of Fall

Welcome back, folks! I don't know about you, but to me it sure feels good to be back into the swing of things, especially now that school's back in session. My favorite season has always been Fall. It's because I'm not too fond of hot and humid summer, nor snowy and icy winter weather, and fall is usually a nice mix of comfortable temps and mostly sunny days.

What I like best about fall, aside from the weather, are the sights, sounds, and smells that occur only at this time of year. These include but are not limited to: leaves turning bright colors, pungent smell of leaves burning, warmth and camaraderie of bonfires and wiener roasts, tartness of hot apple cider, echoes of the droning announcer and crowd cheering at football games, sweet and sticky taste of homemade caramel apples, salty flavor of popcorn balls, savoring spicy pumpkin pie with cool whip, vivid shades of Indian corn hanging on front doors, hum of tractors harvesting in the fields, budding excitement of Homecoming week, fun and frolic of Halloween costumes and trick or treating for candy, and of course, the creepy apprehension and downright fright of horror novels and movies!

Speaking of scary books and movies, allow me to recommend my favorites. I must warn you that I am not a big fan of gore, but I am all about the spooky suspense! That is why my favorite horror genre writers are Stephen King and Dean Koontz. King's The Shining and Koontz's Frankenstein series are fabulously creepy. As for films, you can't go wrong with classic Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense. His classic horror film "The Birds" never fails to creep me out! For juniors and seniors, Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of "The Shining" starring Jack Nicholson is a classic.

But enough about me. I want to learn more about you! That's why I've arranged a student survey in the library. Stop by all this month to fill out a short form listing your "likes" about Fall and your "fave" horror novels and movies. Your responses will be entered into a drawing for a free book or coupon for a free movie rental!

Important Events This Month:

  • September is library card sign-up month, so if you or your family haven't been to visit the Alton Public library yet, now's the time!
  • International Literacy Day, September 8- A time to ask: What would your life be like if you couldn’t read? This annual event, sponsored by the International Reading Association and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is an opportunity to focus on the 875 million adults worldwide who do not know how to read or write. Nearly two-thirds are women. For more info, visit: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/literacy-day/
  • Sept 22-28- Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read- Observed during the last week of September each year, this annual event is an opportunity to educate about one of our most precious freedoms in a democracy and the role of libraries.

Happy Fall and Spooktacular Reading!

Mrs. West

Write For Fright video courtesy of teachertube.com

Write For Fright

Mrs. Coe-West's "Cool ... We're Back to School!" Book Pick:

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Goodreads Summary: Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she's carrying his baby, she's devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it'll never break--because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever.

To read Mrs. West's Goodreads book review, click on the link below:


Summary and book cover courtesy of Goodreads.com

Stay tuned for our next newsletter featuring Ms. Predny's Pick!

Someone Like You Book Trailer

Illinois Children's Choice Book Awards

To promote reading and literacy in the state of Illinois, there are book awards given out at each of four levels:

Monarch Book Award- Grades K-2

Bluestem Book Award- Grades 3-5

Rebecca Caudill Book Award- Grades 4-8

Abraham Lincoln Book Award- Grades 9-12

Abraham Lincoln Book Award

The Abraham Lincoln Award is awarded annually to the author of the book voted as most outstanding by participating students in grades nine through twelve in Illinois. The award is named for Abraham Lincoln, one of Illinois' most famous residents and himself an avid reader and noted author. The Abraham Lincoln Award is designed to encourage high school students to read for personal satisfaction and become familiar with authors of young adult and adult books.

To be eligible to vote, students must read at least four of the nominated books and write a short report on the Abe Lincoln Blog! More details on voting will be revealed in future newsletters, as we profile more award nominees! Click on the "2014 Abraham Lincoln Award Nominees" title below to follow the link to this year's contest nomination list, and to read more about the contest.

All of the following book cover pictures and summaries are courtesy of amazon.com, and the book trailer videos are courtesy of youtube.com .

This year's winner (2013) was Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

When Clay Jenkins receives a box containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends the night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah’s voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

13 Reasons Why Book Trailer
Wintergirls Trailer
Shadow and Bone book trailer
Ashes by Ilsa Bick Book Trailer
"Hate List" Book Trailer
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (MPL Book Trailer #113)
ROOM by Emma Donoghue - Book Trailer

Aprender Library Reference Highlight:

PBS: Public Broadcasting System- www.pbs.org

This website leads students to a vast array of educational and research programming. Once you are on the site, go to the programs tab to see the list of program choices. Some of the best are as follows: NOVA, Frontline, Masterpiece Theatre, PBS NewsHour, American Experience, Nature and American Masters, but there are many more to choose from.

Students can view these programs to gain valuable source information for use in research writing or projects. Simply take notes on the program you choose to watch, or even include video or audio clips in a project or presentation to provide interest and to increase the project's appeal. PBS is known for its high quality, factual, and unbiased programming, and is largely considered an accurate and scholarly source of information. You may bring in your own headphones, or check out a pair from us to use when viewing one of these programs, so as not to disturb other students.



According to the American Library Association, information literacy is “a set of abilities requiring individuals to ‘recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.’” (American Library Association, 1989).

Very simply, being information literate means that students are masters of information. They know they need it, they know how to find it, and they know how to use it! This doesn’t only apply to school; it also applies to everyday life! Information might come from a book, but it might also come from the internet or a street sign or a radio show. We can use information to finish homework, but we can also use it to map out a travel route, to decide what candidate is most worthy of our vote, or to purchase a car. We use information at school, but we also use it at work and while we are out and about in our everyday lives. Being information literate means that we are able to take the information we encounter each and every day and use it to our advantage, in order to be successful students, engaged citizens, and happy, healthy individuals.

An information literate individual is able to:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally


Learn how to use the Big 6 Research Method! Check out the Big 6 website!


Middle and High School Reading: Tips From the Pros

By Great Schools Staff

Who knows better than teachers and literacy coaches what students need to succeed in middle and high school reading? These valuable tips are sure to help your student moving up to middle and high school.

Advice for Parents From Teachers and Literacy Coaches

  • High school teacher Lance Balla suggests the following:

1. Understand what kind of learner your child is.

Does he need silence to concentrate? Then make sure the TV is not on when he is studying. Provide an appropriate learning environment at home.

2. Stay engaged with your child and her teachers.

Be proactive. Don't wait until the first report card. Make sure you know what is expected of your child and that she is meeting the teacher's expectations. If you wait for the report card, it may be too late. If your school has an online grading system that you can access, make sure you log on frequently to see how your child is doing.

3. Create a college-­going culture at home.

Emphasize that you expect your child will go to college.

4. Model good reading habits.

If your child sees you reading, then he or she will be more likely to become a reader, too.

  • Suzanne Owen, English teacher, literacy coach and mother of four in Antioch, CA

suggests these tips:

1. Subscribe to a newspaper and encourage your children to read it.

This is so important for students, especially now with so much information only available in sound bites and on the web. Newspapers provide more detail and background, and help make connections between what appear to be disparate bits of info. Also, reading the paper enhances comprehension in several expository genres.

2. Visit places where books and learning are important. ­

Libraries, used and new bookstores. (Visit them on vacations, too.)

3. Talk to your kids about what they are learning.

You don't need to talk to them about about grades, just actual content.

4. Encourage reading everywhere.

Bring along books in the car, at the doctor's office, etc.

5. Get them reading the classics.

If the middle school novels they read in class are weak choices (as they often are), get them classics and read with them, especially older books with more complex sentence structure. Try A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, or Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe.



How are online issues affecting teens?

Take a glance at these statistics to find out (courtesy of http://www.netsmartz.org/).


  • 93% of teens (12-17) go online.
  • Of the children (0-5) who use the Internet, 80% use it at least once a week.

Cell Phones

  • 75% of teens (12-17) have cell phones.
  • On average, texting teens (12-17) send and receive 1500 text messages a month.

Cyber bullying

  • 1 in 3 teens (12-17) have experienced online harassment.
  • Girls are more likely to be victims of cyber bullying (38% girls vs. 26% boys).

Online Gaming

  • 97% of teens (12-17) play computer, web, portable, or console games.
  • 27% of teens (12-17) play games with people they don’t know online.


  • Predators seek youths vulnerable to seduction, including those with histories of sexual or physical abuse, those who post sexually provocative photos/video, and those who talk about sex with unknown people online.
  • Boys who are gay or questioning their sexuality are particularly at risk. 25% of victims are boys and almost all of their offenders are male.
  • 1 in 25 youths received an online sexual solicitation where the solicitor tried to make offline contact.
  • In more than one-quarter (27%) of incidents, solicitors asked youths for sexual photographs of themselves.


  • 4% of cell-owning teens (12-17) say that they have sent sexually suggestive nude/semi-nude messages to others via text message.
  • 15% of cell-owning teens (12-17) say they have received sexually suggestive nude/semi-nude images of someone they know via text.

Social Networking

  • 73% of teens (12-17) have profiles on social networking sites.
  • 47% of teens (12-17) have uploaded photos; 14 % have posted videos.

Gutnick A, Kotler J, Robb M, Takeuchi L. Always Connected: The new digital media habits of young children, Joan Ganz Cooney Center, 2011.

Lenhart A. Cyberbullying and Online Teens. Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2007.

Lenhart A. Social Media and Young Adults. Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2010.

Lehart A, et al. Teens, Games, and Civics. Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2008.

Lenhart A. Teens and Mobile Phones. Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2010.

Lenhart A. Teens and Sexting. Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2009.

Lehart A. Teens and Social Media. Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2007.

Wolak J, Finkelhor D, Mitchell K, Ybarra M. Online “Predators” and Their Victims: Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment. American Psychologist, 2008;63, 111-128.



Popplet is a graphic organizer app that allows users to create brainstorms, flow charts, timelines, and other organizers. Users can then share their creations with others! You can use Popplet online, or you can download the Popplet app for your iPad or phone. There is a free version and a paid version with more features.

Popplet is great for students and teachers! Students can use Popplet to do pre-writing for research assignments. Teachers can use Popplet to discuss a historical timeline or plan a collaboration with another teacher. Parents can use Popplet to create chore lists or grocery lists.



Looking for a great community resource with little or no cost activities, programs, and resources? Visit one of the Hayner Public Library District locations! The district includes the Downtown Library, the Alton Square Library, and the Genealogy and Local History Library.

No longer just a depository for books, Hayner Public Libraries are an invaluable community resource.

They provide:

  • Free arts & entertainment programming
  • Reference services
  • Voter registration (requires two current forms of ID)
  • Reserve lists for popular titles
  • Books on tape, compact disc and Mp3
  • Movies and documentaries
  • Parent’s Collection related to child care
  • Online access to a wide range of materials through interlibrary loan
  • Notary services – call to confirm a notary is available
  • Internet access and searchable full-text electronic resources
  • Dial-a-Story at 462-TALE (462-8253)
  • Summer reading program, story hours and other reading activities

For information and scheduling, check out their website:


STAFF & COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS: A Workshop with Dr. Katherine McKnight

On Saturday, September 21st, the Aprender HS staff will participate in a workshop with Dr. Katherine McKnight, an expert in developing curriculum with Common Core State Standards. Dr. McKnight will talk about the CCSS and then work with small groups of staff to develop curricular guides to help students meet the standards.

For more information on CCSS from Dr. Katherine McKnight, check out the information below:

What do the Common Core State Standards Say About Educational Technology?

05/02/2013 by Katherine McKnight

I am a member of the last generation of college student who actually pounded out papers on an electric typewriter. When I entered the teaching profession over twenty years ago, the web wasn’t an instant resource, and I taught students about note cards and bibliography cards when they researched topics. Those days are long gone (and I am thrilled). Today, our students gather and digest information via the Internet at amazing speed. I often say that the ways in which we read text, write text, use text and how text affects us has completely changed because we are in the Technology/Information Age.

In response to this reality the authors of the Common Core State Standards clearly articulate the importance of technology in the standards. Although specific strategies for the integration of technology in curriculum and instruction are not stated, the Standards do articulate skills recognizing the reality of the Digital Age. In the introduction for the Common Core State Standards, the authors outline what college and career readiness in reading, writing, speaking , listening, and language looks like by the time students graduate high school. Specifically the Standards indicate the specific expectations between technology and career and college readiness:

They use technology and digital media strategically and capably. Students employ technology thoughtfully to enhance their reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use. They tailor their searches online to acquire useful information efficiently, and they integrate what they learn using technology with what they learn offline. They are familiar with the strengths and limitations of various technological tools and mediums.

It is clear that the technology tools (that are literally at our fingertips) must be integrated into our curriculum and instruction given in all grades and content areas.

As we embark on this transition between the previous generation of standards to the Common Core State Standards, we need to consider how to use all of the technology tools that are available to us. Fully integrating technology into curriculum and instruction requires careful planning to ensure that it is an enhancement for teaching and learning, rather than a distraction. There are many resources that can support your planning for integration of technology into your classes. Here are some basic and essential tools for instruction that I usually share when teachers are ready to integrate technology into teaching and learning:

Known in shorthand as blogs, weblogs are web sites that can be easily updated and highly interactive. Since the sites are highly interactive, students are able to send their ideas and work to an audience that goes beyond the classroom. Since students are encouraged to represent what they know and understand in the CCCSS framework, blogs are a vehicle to meet those expectations.

From the Hawaiian word, wiki-wiki, which means “quick” in Hawaiian, this web based tool makes it easy for people to work together online to author and publish ideas and information. The most famous example is Wikipedia.

There are three kinds of podcasts: audio, visual and video. Audio are similar to radio broadcasts, visual include graphics and images, and video are sometimes called vodcasts or v-casts. These are valuable technology tools in meeting the CCSS because they offer structures to represent what students know and understand through various digital genres.

We are in a new age and I am by no means a “technology geek”. Instead, I learn how to use technology to be an even stronger and more effective literacy teacher. As we transition to CCSS and the role of technology becomes more fully integrated into teaching and learning, I want to remind my fellow educators that it takes time to make this change. Keep building your knowledge about all of the amazing tools that are available to us in “chunks”. I learn a few tools each month and consider how I can use them for effective teaching and learning activities. In a short time, I know that you will become “wiki-wiki” in connecting technology effectively into your curriculum and instruction and further prepare our students for careers and college in the 21st century.

Katie McKnight - Episode 1: Common Core State Standards

For more information on Common Core State Standards, check out the link below:



Monday, Sep. 9th 2013 at 7pm

Aprender H.S. Meeting Room

The Aprender H.S. School Board holds its monthly board meeting in the H.S. Meeting Room on the second Monday of every month. The meetings are open to members of the public.


Thursday, Sep. 12th 2013 at 7pm

Aprender H.S. in Alton, IL

Aprender H.S. welcomes parents to tour the school and meet their children's teachers at our annual Back to School Night. We will start promptly at 7:00pm with a talk by Principal Smithers. Parents will be able to tour their students' classes, meet their teachers, check out booths from our clubs and organizations, and buy school spirit wear and other goods from our in-house vendors. We look forward to seeing you!


Wednesday, Sep. 18th 2013 at 7pm

Alton, IL

Alton's favorite bookstore, the Book Nook, welcomes author John Green to this book signing event! John Green will be speaking and signing books. This is a ticketed event, so stop by the book store before the event to pick up your tickets. Hurry! This is sure to be a popular night, and tickets won't last long!


Friday, Sep. 20th 2013 at 7-9am

Aprender HS Library

Join us for our first weekly book club of the school year!

We will have bagels for breakfast and pick our first book club books of the new year!

Everyone is welcome to join in the fun!

Aprender HS Staff Event: A Workshop with Dr. Katherine McKnight

Saturday, Sep. 21st 2013 at 8am

Aprender HS Library


Friday, Sep. 27th 2013 at 7-8am

Aprender HS Library

Join us for our weekly book club!

We will have bagels for breakfast and pass out our first book for the school year!

Everyone is welcome to join in the fun!


Saturday, Sep. 28th 2013 at 9am-5pm

Alton Public Library

Stop at the Alton Public Library's Fall Book Sale! You'll find a wide selection of gently used books, magazines, CDs, and DVDs for sale. All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Library program.


Monday, Sep. 30th 2013 at 7-9pm

Aprender H.S. South Gym

Aprender H.S. invites you to our Annual College Fair. Representatives of over 50 colleges and universities will be here to answer questions and discuss information about their schools. For more information, including a list of visiting schools, stop by the Counseling Office.

A Little Inspiration...

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things


Look for the next library newsletter in October!