Betsy Wolf Wins TASL Innovative Library Media Award in the Elementary School Division

The winner of this year’s Innovative Library Media Award in the Elementary Division is Betsy Wolf from Sevierville Intermediate School in Sevier County for her “Put a Pin In It” reading program. Betsy wanted to create excitement about books regardless of student ability levels and to get students to read more widely and make connections across the library. She came up with 7 categories of books for students to read and they earned buttons for reading 3 books in each category: non-fiction, graphic novels, books from a different culture, three books in a series, Volunteer State Book Awards, books written in a different language, and biographies. Students started reading outside their comfort zones and over 700 pins were earned during the shortened school year. Besty even designed and made the pins with her button maker. Congratulations Betsy!

Betsy told us a little about her background as an educator.

“I have been working at Sevierville Intermediate School since January of 2017. I graduated in December of 2016 from East Tennessee State University after deciding to go back to get my Masters in Educational Technology with a certification in School Library. I am a new educator and am enjoying every aspect of getting to work with each student in the school!”

Betsy told us a little more about her project.

“The project I submitted was affectionately called “In it to Pin It” and it is a reading promotion program meant to get students to read more widely. After designing the buttons on Canva, I make them by hand with a button maker. Students can earn the buttons by reading at least 3 books in one of these categories: series, graphic novel, non-fiction, biography, a second language, Volunteer State Book Award nominees, and books featuring a culture different from their first culture.”

“We had a huge response to this, with over 700 buttons being handed out the first year. We have now been using buttons for reading promotion for 3 years, and I have found that it is motivating students in identifying the types of books they are interested in and introducing them to more books, authors, and so many non-fiction topics! Some classes do the 40 Book Challenge (Donalyn Miller’s program) and when they complete their project, I let them design and make a special button. It has also helped me become more familiar with what students enjoy reading, because they turn in the book titles when they submit their application for a button. It helps me connect with them more one on one and build relationships. Though making the buttons is a lot of work, it is completely worth it to see the smiles and sense of pride that it gives them, not to mention a deeper connection with the library as their own space.”

Congratulations to Betsy and all of her students who have earned buttons! What a great tool for reading promotion!


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