Teaming Up for a Sibert Smackdown! Two Librarians Unite to Bring a Love of Nonfiction to Middle School Students!

Saturday, February 04, 2023 1:50 PM | RILA Communications (Administrator)

School library and public library collaborations are a fun way to bring two types of librarianship together within the community– and sometimes that community is a few cities over!

As a way to open students' eyes to the wonderful world of nonfiction, Park View Middle School librarian Steph Mills and 8th grade ELA teacher Rhonda Marro talked to Barrington Middle School librarian Melanie Roy and Garden City librarian Meredith Moore about their previous work on creating Mock Sibert award lesson plans. Throughout their conversations, Steph learned that Maria Cotto, a Pawtucket children’s librarian, served on the Sibert committee from 2019-2021.

In an effort to give students a first hand look at what it is like to serve on a national committee, Steph invited Maria to visit her classes to discuss the hard work and deliberations that go into choosing the winners and nominees. Maria talked about the criteria and the passion that librarians bring to the virtual meetings as well as the process for reading such a large quantity of books and eliminating titles in each round. This served as a basis for Steph and Rhonda to show them Melody Allen and Melissa Stewart’s modified mock Sibert approach in which students look at three criteria: delight, design, and documentation.

Throughout the month of February, students will be reading at least eight nonfiction titles and debating the merits of each with classmates. Each class will each determine their winner and nominees. As a culminating activity, students will watch a recording of the Youth Media Awards to see if Park View’s final list matches what the 2023 Sibert committee picked!

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