Book It Bash 2014-2015


Our 2014-2015 Book It season came to a close this morning, with a bang! Before I tell you about our Grand Finale Book It Bash, let’s take a quick look back at Book It over the last few months.


In October, Miss FitzGerald and I introduced Book It to the Johnson community with a fun and exciting kickoff assembly. We taught the students about the Book It program, told them about all of the exciting prizes they could win, and even got them started on filling out their first reading log with a guest video story from NFL star Tim Tebow.

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As students completed their reading logs, they came up to the library to celebrate and fill out a Book It raffle ticket. Once a month from October through March, one or two names per grade level were picked at random from the bowl. These lucky students were revealed over the morning announcements and called up to the library to choose their prize – one awesome free book of their choice to keep!

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[Are you interested in finding out how we got so many fabulous, high interest, brand new books to give to Johnson students? Check out this post to learn about our DonorsChoose project and the amazing people who brought our Book It dreams to life.]

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To celebrate our final month of Book It reading and goal-reaching, Miss FitzGerald and I decided to throw a Book It Bash for our Book It MVPs. We asked teachers to nominate their most enthusiastic, helpful, and consistent Book It participants so that we could celebrate all of their hard work.

Nominated students were invited to the library over the announcements this morning for singing, dancing, and celebrating – and, of course, for their free books! Winners also got to choose a pencil, bookmark, and sticker. We had so many students nominated, it was hard to get a group picture!



Overall, we had a total of 398 students reach their Book It goals this year. Congratulations to all of our Book It readers. Keep up the great work!

All of the books provided for Book It Raffle Prizes were generously donated via the incredible donors at Thank you from the whole Johnson community for helping our students love reading!

This Month in Photos: 3/1-4/1


With all of the special events and distinguished guests gracing the Johnson hallways in March, I’ve fallen behind in sharing our everyday excitement with you. Between the author visits and Cat in the Hat parties, we’ve had a wonderful month of learning, growing, and falling love with reading.

Library circulation broke 14,000 books this month, and the number of students that have reached their Book It goal soared over 350 (382 as of this morning, to be exact!). Take a look at some of the cool things we’ve been doing this month!




DSC01909Pre-school students sing, march, dance, craft, and play in the library. Learning through song and play is the way we spend our mornings around here! Look closer to see some dedicated fourth grade helpers lending a hand to the lucky students in the Early Childhood Special Education program.



Kindergarten and first grade readers enjoy some Book Preview Time with their preview glasses before choosing just one book for checkout. I have spent this year collaborating with Johnson’s kindergarten team and instructional coach to help Johnson’s youngest patrons become stronger, more independent readers. This preview time is a great opportunity for them to flex their reading muscles and work on their stamina! Plus, it’s extra fun to read while you’re stylin’ in sunglasses 🙂











Did you know that March was the last month of Johnson’s Book It program for the 2014-2015 school year? To celebrate, we have been pulling Book It raffle winners from our pool of participating students every Thursday morning. Our books generously donated by contributors through have been a HUGE hit, and it is impossible to capture the excitement and joy through just photos (although I dare you not to smile when you see some of those faces!!). Students have the opportunity to turn in completed March Book It logs through next Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning, we will be calling our GRAND PRIZE Book It winners. Students that have completed the challenge each month and encouraged classmates to do their best have an extra chance to win! Students can also be nominated or honored by their teachers for excellence in reading and Book It participation throughout the year. Check back next week to see our winners, and their prizes!


At this point in the year, many students feel overwhelmed or overworked in their classes. To get some smiles, I have a game going with second, third, and fourth grade students – creative and wacky warmups to take their minds off of testing and report cards when they walk in the door. Last week’s warm up, pictured above, challenged them to think like a four-legged friend! Students without pets at home got to “borrow” mine, a cat named Mo. Our warm-ups get wackier and wackier as the year goes on, challenging students to step outside the box to think (and write) in a creative and fun way before getting started with our lesson for the day.





Third graders spent the week RUNNING to show off their reference skills! Two teams raced to match research questions to the corresponding reference tool. For example, which reference tool would you use to answer this question: Which states border Virginia? If you answered the atlas, then you’re right!





A second grade class searches for the perfect books to check out with Mrs. Covington during their checkout time. In the last two pictures, two role model students show off some of the changes with our new computer system. Our old checkout computer was a touch screen, but our new computer offers faster and more reliable checkout for students. It has been a challenge for some students to get used to using a mouse – above, Thimson and Brandon show the steps for a successful checkout, including clicking the pawprint on the mouse and listening for the happy noise after you scan your book. Thanks for the help, guys!

Did you know that classes visit the library TWICE each week? Once for a 30 minute information literacy lesson, and again on Thursday for a 15 minute check out time. This time is dedicated to finding the best books for each student. Teachers accompany their classes to help students find books that are challenging, interesting, and on an appropriate reading level. I see every single first, second, third, and fourth grade class on Thursdays for checkout – it’s a busy day, and one of my favorite days each week!


Have you ever wondered what it looks like when 300 students return their library books on the same day? Every Thursday, I check in and shelve between 300 and 500 books, just for them to go back out before the end of the day. It’s an exhausting and rewarding process! Above is a snapshot of what my book return cart looked like at about 8:20 this morning.

Off to do some more shelving! Enjoy the sunshine!

– Miss Messham

October’s BookIt! Raffle Winners


This morning, the winners of our October BookIt Raffle were chosen! The numbers for our first official month of BookIt were impressive – 98 students reached their goals. That means that I had 98 tickets to choose from when I pulled my winners… but Johnson students were feelin’ lucky and excited this morning.

A BIG congratulations goes to Unique, Andy, Hannah, Alexis, and Htaw Yan for winning our October BookIt Raffle! These students chose their prize in the library this morning – a brand new, high-interest book! Our winners were lucky enough to choose from the amazing selection provided by the generous donors from our DonorsChoose project. From Elephant and Pigge to Cinderella, World Records to Wrestling Facts, and everything in between – we had some VERY excited winners.








Congratulations to each and everyone one of our students that reached their BookIt goal. You should be so proud of all of your hard work! Next month, five more winners will be chosen, and I’ll have five more great big smiles to post to the blog.

Thank you to our DonorsChoose donors, and congratulations to our first ever BookIt Raffle winners!

DonorsChoose, a huge success!


Less than 24 hours after being posted to the DonorsChoose website, our project, Help Our Students Fall in Love with Reading, was fully funded! Thanks to donations from family, friends, and generous strangers, more than 60 brand new, engaging books are on their way to Johnson. These books will be awarded to our Book It Lottery winners throughout the rest of the school year.

The timing couldn’t be better, as our first Johnson students just reached their Book It goals and filled out lottery tickets this morning!

Not only was our project fully funded, but we received a surplus of donations that will go towards our next DonorsChoose project to benefit Johnson Elementary School students. I am absolutely floored by the generosity and kindness shown by the Charlottesville community, the DonorsChoose community, and the educational community all over the world.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Keep an eye on the blog to find out about upcoming projects and collaborations with DonorsChoose.

DonorsChoose: Johnson’s Book It Program needs your help!


You’ve read about it on the blog, you’ve heard about it from your student, maybe you’ve even started tracking and coloring towards reaching your child’s reading goals. It’s official – you’re a part of Johnson’s brand new Book It incentive. Congratulations, and welcome! We’re glad you’re here! Today, I’m going to tell you about an opportunity to be an even bigger, more integral part of helping the Johnson team make Book It a huge success. Keep reading to find out more about how you can help Johnson students to become better readers.

In case you haven’t heard, Johnson kiddos are reading their way to free pizza with Pizza Hut’s Book It program. Each grade level has a specific, developmentally appropriate literacy goal to work towards each week. Every month, when students reach these goals by practicing their reading skills both in- and outside of school, they earn a coupon for a FREE personal pan pizza courtesy of Pizza Hut. Free pizza, just for reading! This coupon provides a great opportunity for families to spend an evening out together celebrating students’ accomplishments and discussing the importance of literacy.

But being the book nerds that we are, the Johnson family wants to offer these budding readers an opportunity to earn more than just a free pizza. We are hoping to setup a lottery run through the library, to offer a free book to a few lucky students when they reach their Book It goals. However, to make this dream a reality, we need some help from you.

Using the incredible services offered through DonorsChoose, we have setup a project called Help Our Students Fall in Love with Reading! Please visit our DonorsChoose page to read all about the project and to find out how YOU can help to get brand new, high interest books into the hands of hard working Johnson students.

Please consider donating to our project, sharing the page to spread the word, or even just taking a moment to read about our program. DonorsChoose believes in our project so much that Help Our Students Fall in Love with Reading has been chosen to be a part of the organization’s Spark Match program! This means that if you donate by October 18th and enter the word SPARK on the payment page, will match your donation dollar for dollar, up to $100. That’s double the dollars to support reading at Johnson Elementary!

Read about our project, make a donation, share the page, help our kids. Every little bit counts.

Click here to Help Our Students Fall in Love with Reading, thanks to DonorsChoose!