Check Out This Award-winning Reading Program for Students

Panagiotis Stathopoulos

Editor’s Note: Here’s another award-winning idea to steal, this time for the school librarians out there. Public librarians, I could see this as a great launchpad for a writing workshop for children or adults (and a great opportunity to partner with experts).

Panagiotis Stathopoulos’s project, “Found in Translation: Reading, Writing, Critical Thinking, and Metaphrasis,” is the 2013 recipient of the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Innovative Reading Grant. Sponsored by Capstone, this grant of $2,500 supports the planning and implementation of a unique and innovative program for children that motivates and encourages reading, especially with struggling readers.

Working out of the de Paul School in Louisville, Kentucky, where Stathopoulos is the school librarian, “Found in ‘Translation’” looks to improve student comprehension of scientific concepts and encourage students to read nonfiction. During the project, fourth-grade students will read selections of nonfiction texts to learn about a scientific concept. They will then be asked to incorporate—or “translate”—that information into a fiction story to demonstrate their comprehension of the concept. The fourth-grade students will be asked to create a compelling narrative, as their audience will be de Paul’s second- and third-grade students.

The project will be a collaboration between many of the school’s educators, including the librarians, classroom teachers, and art teachers. From the librarians, students will learn the different elements of story composition and review sample story books on scientific concepts. Classroom teachers will guide the choice of topics and facilitate the writing process. Art teachers will then demonstrate drawing techniques for book illustration. The finished product of this collaborative project will be a digital translation of the student’s story, which will consist of a video of scanned pages and written text and audio read by the student author. Books will be shared through the school’s Intranet.

“The committee unanimously decided on ‘Found in Translation: Reading, Writing, Critical Thinking and Metaphrasis’ because it covered the entire gamut of comprehension,” said Sabrina Carnesi, award committee chair. “Translations required the reiteration of the nonfiction/informational text content that each student chose through the recursive literary process of writing, illustrating and sharing with a wider audience via digital text. Future plans to implement this program throughout the school showed an outstanding effort via the school librarian and classroom teacher in efforts to successfully create a literacy conscious community of readers and thinkers.”