Exploring Teacher Resources

Cindy Barden Teachers' Resource Center

The Cindy Barden Teachers' Resource Center opened last May in the Children's Room. The center was made possible through an endowment set up by her family through the Fond du Lac Area Foundation to remember Barden, who passed away in 2014.

The prolific Barden, a Fond du Lac native, wrote nearly 200 educational children's books (used across the United States), as well as short stories, poetry and news articles.
The resource center, which is open to all, includes a growing collection of materials for teachers, homeschoolers and parents. The center offers books, book club kits, musical instrument kits, classroom kits, big books for storytelling and equipment to use on site. As the year progresses, we'll highlight a different resource on this blog.

This month: book club kits. Each kit includes eight copies of the same book and discussion questions. The kits can be checked out for 60 days (instead of the usual 21), and you can check out up to three kits at a time on your card.

Book club kits create social experiences. Students are expected to talk a lot; to debate and argue their ideas. Students are invited to share their experiences and feelings with the class.

Here are some ideas that teachers have shared with us to encourage a positive, interactive book club experience.

  • Hand out blank Post-it Notes with the books. As they read, students can jot down notes and leave them in the book to share in class.
  • Have students keep a reading portfolio or reading log to jot down words they need to define, thoughts about the story, questions or things that they need to clarify.
  • Try creating a literature circle. Students rotate through different roles and responsibilities. They'll work together to engage with the text.
  • Have a really tough crowd? Grab a wooden Jenga game, write down simple, generic book club questions on each block. Let the kids play. Each time they pull out a block, they have to answer the question written on the block.

With more than 50 kits for kids and 20 for teens in our collection, we're working hard to create a variety of titles for a range of ages. We've got modern classics such as Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo and Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, as well as traditional stories like The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Curtis and How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. You'll also find fun titles for our younger friends, including Pete the Cat, Too Cool for School by James Dean and Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems.

To find book club kits, go to www.fdlpl.org, and enter "book club kit" in the Catalog search field. You can narrow the results by age group using the Audience function in the left-hand column. If you want just kits for teens, click teens and then Include. If you'd like to suggest a title for a book club kit, we'd love to hear from you. Click HERE to email suggestions for book club kits or call us at the Children's Desk at (920) 322-3940.

Click HERE for our list of book club kits.


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