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Clark teachers recommend favorite books

Science teacher Heather Wood holds "Lemony Snicket." The new librarian at Clark Middle School is looking for ways to get more students interested in books. She’s hoping the new shelf display will spark students to read more.

Stephanie Martinez recently asked teachers to send them their favorite book title from when they were in middle school. She compiled the responses and has transformed a shelf to feature Clark teachers’ favorite books.

“It can be a challenge to get students to read because of technology,” Ms. Martinez said. “I thought it would be a great idea for students to see their favorite teacher and look at their favorite book or even share a favorite book. I thought it might capture some interest.”

Some of the selections submitted by the teachers and administrators at Clark include, the Harry Potter series, the Twilight series, Lemony Snicket, “My Side of the Mountain” by Jean George, “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, “Chasing Red Bird” and “Walk Two Moons” both by Sharon Creech, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Ghost” by Jason Reynolds, the Wicked series by David Cote, “Enders Game” by Orson Scott Card, “Athlete vs Mathlete” by W.C. Mack, “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld, the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson and “Wither” by Lauren DeStefano.

Clark Principal Casey Gunnels recommended “The Dark is Rising” by Susan Cooper.

“I was in 6th grade when I read this book, and it was one of the first fantasy novels I’d read,” Mr. Gunnels said. “It got me reading more books like this, including ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit.’ It’s got a good story, it’s well written, and it’s an overall good representation of the genre. I recommend it to a lot of students who are looking for something in the fantasy genre.”

Assistant Principal Brett Hackman suggested an atlas for his choice of a favorite book.

“I chose this because I love geography and I love maps,” Mr. Hackman said. “I thought someone else might, too.”

This is just one way Ms. Martinez is hoping to draw more students to the library, and ultimately, get them reading.

“I think it's important for the students to know that their teachers read, because it shows them that even though they are busy and have kids, grading and lesson plans, they still have time to read,” Ms. Martinez said. “I do get a few students here and there that tell me they don’t have time to read, and obviously, each person has different situations, but I do remind them there is always at least 30 minutes you can read, like while riding in the car, before bed or even reading to their sibling.”

Ms. Martinez recently reorganized the Clark library.

“I changed the library earlier this year to have the books separated by genres,” she said. “The library is not just mine, but it is the students as well, so they need to be comfortable coming in here and not feeling overwhelmed by trying to find a book or even know what to read.”

She is also adding a “Netflix” theme to the library.

“I believe it is a fun and exciting idea for the kids to see it look like ‘Netflix’ in here, because let's be honest, they watch ‘Netflix’ all the time and seeing something they are very familiar with brings them into the library,” Ms. Martinez said.

She is hoping these changes are bringing in more potential readers.

“This is my first year in the library, so I am not quite sure if I’m seeing an increase in reading,” she said. “But I do have a lot of students asking me about books, and I love when they come in and see that all the books are separated by genre and they go directly to the section of books they like.”