The library at Monticello Academy – Highbury is an important part of our school curriculum and culture. Reading is an important skill of every discipline because if you are a strong reader, you can explore and find information on whatever you want to learn.
Our library was built based on the Core Knowledge curriculum, the state core curriculum as well as fun, worthwhile, interesting emergent readers and picture books, nonfiction, and fiction. One of our main goals is to help each student gain a love of learning.
State Library Core – The state library core for library/media consists of three strands, which are Reading Engagement, Research, and Media Awareness.
Lessons on these topics are taught weekly to grades K-8.
Reading Engagement includes library fundamentals and our annual Minuteman Reading Contest* is a part of this strand. Skills taught are explained so that students may use them to navigate both the school and public libraries.
Each grade either does a simple research project during library time, or we review the steps of research in grades 7-8. Classroom teachers all have access to the research steps we follow at Monticello Academy.
Some time is spent with each grade level discussing the importance of media in our world, how it influences us and our decisions, and how we can be better consumers of media. We also discuss media safety in each grade.
While the lessons they learn in their library time are life skills and help them with other subjects, library class does not receive a grade at Monticello Academy.
The Minuteman Reading contest is an annual contest to challenge students to read various genres and books that they might not otherwise read. Each grade level has a new list that is introduced a couple of weeks into the school year. They have until early May to read 5 different books on their grade level list and pass the AR test for the book.
Students are rewarded with a bracelet and bead for their first passed-off book, and then a bead for additional books. Students who reach Minuteman status receive a certificate and are mentioned in the daily announcements. They will be invited to a party at the end of the school year. This party is held during the school day. Some students have so much fun reading the five books, that they continue on and read a book from every section of the list and become Ultimate Minute Readers! They are rewarded for that accomplishment as well.
This contest runs each year from sometime in September to early May. (This year, May 6th is the cutoff date for Minuteman books.) Each grade level has a list of books (about twenty+) and students must read and pass an AR test on 5 different books. One of the main purposes of the contest is to expose students to various genres of literature and so five of the same type of books will not qualify for Minuteman status.
Student results are noted each week the afternoon before their library day. They are rewarded during their weekly library time.
Students who successfully pass off five different books on their grade list may work towards being an Ultimate Minuteman Reader, which means that they have read and passed off a book from each square of the game board.
Special arrangements are made as needed for SPED or ELL students.
5-8 students who read more books than the required 5 books receive extra raffle tickets for each book, which they may use for more prizes during the end of the year party.
Parties will be held during school time at the end of the school year. Only Minuteman Readers are allowed to attend the parties. Other students will remain in class.
Minuteman lists for the school year of 2021-2022 are HERE.
New lists will not be supplied to students before they are launched during their second library lesson of the new school year.
This program from Renaissance has two sections that we use at Monticello Academy – Highbury. The first section is the STAR test. This is administered to students 3-8 grade 4-5 times a year. It measures their reading comprehension and there are various reports that can show where any reading issues are occurring.
The one that most know about is AR reading quizzes. Almost every book that we have in the school library and most that you may have at home, from the public library or on EPIC, have a short (3-20 question) quiz that tests students’ comprehension of what they just read. It asks questions about the plot, characters, facts, depending on the book. If a book in our library has an AR quiz, it has a colored sticker on its spine as well as a reading level (0.5-12.0) and the number of points a certain book is worth.
Many teachers use the AR program to grade reading standards. But even if your student’s teacher does not use it for reading, it is how I certify that a student has read and understood a Minuteman book.
All students, regardless of whether or not this program is used for grading, are rewarded when they reach quarterly goals and a certain amount of points. (See FAQ for more details.)
AR tests must be taken at school. An exception was made during the Covid shutdown. If your student seems to have problems finding time to take quizzes, please contact their teacher. There should be time, if not during class, then during AM or PM carpool.
Most classes come weekly. Kindergarten is coming about every other week. The schedule is as follows.
Mondays – 6th graders, Powell Kindergarten, Black PM kindergarten
Tuesdays – 5th graders, Black AM Kindergarten, 1st graders
Wednesdays – 3rd graders
Thursdays – 4th graders
Th/F A days – 8th graders
Th/F B days – 7th graders
Fridays – 2nd graders
If students need to trade out books at another time, they can come by before school, between classes (upper grades) or after school, if it doesn’t interfere with carpool. The classroom teacher is also welcome to check with me to see if there is a time during my day that I am available for them to drop by.
Library books check out for 4 weeks at a time. They can be renewed once if the book is not on hold. Classroom novels check out for 8 weeks, or until the teacher indicates they are done with the book. All library books and textbooks must be turned in by Monday, May 16th.
If a book is damaged or lost, the student is charged the replacement cost. Late fines of ten cents per book per day may be charged to students. These fines do not show up automatically on your Compass account. Near the end of the school year, all library fines are placed on the Compass account. You may pay fines in the library throughout the year with cash or check. If you need to pay online, please contact Mrs. Ballard so that she can have the office place it on your Compass account.
For most students, their login is their first name and last name. Their password is their student number. Some student logins have been changed to a nickname. Any students’ login can be changed if requested. Since all students have access to their own chromebook, students should save their logins to their own chrome book.
The Accelerated Reading link is in the student launch pad so they can easily access it.
Parents or guardians can select Get Email Updates under the product tiles to sign up to receive emails when their children take Accelerated Reader quizzes or Star assessments. Note that you must sign up for each of your children separately – ask each child to sign in and select the link to sign up for emails for that child. For more information, see Getting Email Updates on Your Child’s Work (Parents).
Volunteers are needed occasionally for book fairs, literacy night, and end-of-term rewards. Please contact email@example.com if you are interested in volunteering.