Monday, 9 July 2018

Displaying your Reading History

Last year, I started displaying the covers of the books I was currently reading.  Here's what I was reading last week:

This display has generated a bit of interest.  Recently, I've had students ask me why it's taking me so long to read "The Heroes of Olympus" series!  (In my defence, I've been listening to the audiobook versions only while exercising and doing chores and I obviously don't do enough of either of these things!).  

Fortunately, once I'd finished reading a book and had removed the cover from this display, I kept it.  I thought I might have a use for it someday.

A few months ago, I saw a post from librarian Zac McCallum, on the NZ school library listserv.  Zac has a wall filled with ALL the books he has read so far this year.  It looks colourful and interesting, and given I had most of my covers in a pile already, it was easy for me to implement.  I put them on my door:

I had no idea how much interest this would generate.  Far more than my "currently reading" display.  It is a great way to show students, and teachers, the amount and variety of children's books I read.  Many have asked about particular books, and have gone on to read them themselves.  I make sure that I only include books that are in our library (well, except for "Illegal" by Eoin Colfer, I put that up but I'm still deciding whether I think it is suitable for a Year 1-6 primary.  If you've read it, I'd love to hear what you think).  I do read a lot of children's books from our public library, but if they're not good enough for me to buy for our school library I don't put them on my door.  I also don't include picture books (too many!) or the YA and adult books I read.

This display has given me some unexpected benefits:
  • When asked to recommend a book, I have a quick way to remember all the good books that I've read so far this year.  
  • I can point out a cover as I talk about a book so a student can see what it looks like.
  • I'm finding filling up the door surprisingly motivational!  It is quite satisfying to move a cover from the "currently reading" display onto the door.  And it is pleasing to see the space on the door filling up!

I am really pleased with how successful this display has been and would highly recommend doing it.

At the end of the year, I'm going to take a photo of the door (and possibly the adjoining windows if I fill the door up) before removing all the covers.  

I'm also thinking that I should promote this idea to the teachers in our Teachers' Reading Group when we meet again early next term.  Earlier this year, I encouraged them to display the covers of the books they have read aloud, and some of them have been doing that.  Displaying the books they have read themselves would take it one step further (and perhaps encourage them to read more children's books).


  1. What a fantastic way to to jog your memory for books to recommend!!

    1. Thanks! My door is back to being nearly empty as I'm starting all over again for 2019. But I do still have my photos to refer to :)