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Newbery Winners? You be the judge!. Why do a Newbery Selection Project?. Encourages students to read Gives them a ready choice for independent reading times

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Newbery Winners? You be the judge!

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Newbery Winners?You be the judge!

Why do a Newbery Selection Project?

  • Encourages students to read

  • Gives them a ready choice for independent reading times

  • Encourages book discussion, since once a student reads one of the books and likes it, they are very enthusiastic about recommending it to others

  • Opportunity for meaningful collaboration between the SLMS and classroom teacher(s)

What makes this different and easier than traditional Mock Newbery Projects?

  • Working with a classroom teacher, you have an automatic “committee” of 20-25 kids.

  • The books sell themselves when a class is reading together and recommending the books to each other.

  • You and the teacher are both monitoring the progress, lightening the load.

Choosing a Teacher to Work With

This project is an easy sell. Every school has at least one teacher who loves to see their students reading and will jump at any opportunity to encourage it. Pitch this project and you might find a new best friend!

Each year since 2006, 6th Grade Teacher Mr. Ken Rogoyski and I have collaborated on the Newbery Project.

We select books from reviews, blogs, other Mock Newbery lists, and other sources. We aim to have 25-30 different titles, and 2 copies of a title when possible.

Book Selection Resources

Junior Library Guild

The Horn Book (now owned by JLG)

School Library Journal Starred Reviews

School Library Journal Blogs

Other Mock Newbery Lists

(Google “Mock Newbery 2011”)

How do I get these books?

  • Interlibrary Loan

  • Your library’s collection

  • Book Fairs

  • Making a special purchase – it is worthwhile, because you are adding quality books to your collection

But It’s Not in my Budget…

Possible funding sources:

  • Teacher’s Center Grants

  • Student Council

  • PTA

  • Book Fair credit

  • Other Suggestions?

Rolling Out the Project

We explain how the American Library Association gives out many book awards every year, including the Newbery and Caldecott. We explain the difference between the two, and read the ALA criteria for the Newbery.

Everyone’s a Critic!

We tell the students that this is their chance to be a book critic, that they will be reading some of the best books published in the past year, and decide which ones they think deserve to win.

Additional Criteria

We tell the students that we have observed some commonalities in many (but not all) past Newbery Winners, and have our own additional criteria. We have developed a form called “And the winner is…”

And the Winner is…

We pass out the forms and go over them. We tell students they will fill one out after reading each book, and it will help them make predictions.

The Books

We explain how we have chosen from the books published in 2010, and that these are some of the best ones written this year. I give brief book talks to highlight several of the titles.

When all the books have been introduced, we begin to sign them out, and the students are given time to begin reading immediately.

Over the next few months, students read, excitedly discuss and recommend their favorites, fill out their rating forms, and choose new books as they finish others.

Statistics and ratings are recorded throughout the duration of the project. At any time, students can see each book’s rating and how many people have read it.

The Home Stretch

As the Awards ceremony nears, we sign out last-chance books, go over the results and top predictions, and prepare for our Awards Party. We talk it up and tell them it is the “Oscars” of the Book World!


We gather to watch the ALA Youth Media Awards Webcast. It is festive and exciting! We have snacks and invite other classes to join us. The kids get so excited when they see one of the books we have read win an award. We encourage cheering for the winners!


Wendy StephanyMiddle School LibrarianByron-Bergen Central School

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