For the past five years, Leyden has encouraged students to become a part of Abe Readers, which is short for Abraham Lincoln Illinois Readers’ Choice Award. Both East and West Leyden are registered schools that allows students to participate in this year-long activity.
Students are challenged to read those books nominated for the award in return for the right to vote. Students may start reading books off the list at any time of the year, but in order to vote they must have read four books, or have read three books and listened to the audio of one by Febuary.
Voting will determine which book out of the twenty will win the Illinois State Award, which is sponsored by ISLMA (Illinois School Library Media Association). Something important to remember is even if a student has read only one book off the list, he or she is still considered an Abe reader, just without voting priveleges.
A survey will be sent out during January asking students if they have the qualifications to be an Abe Reader. In February, those who have read four of the books will meet in the library to celebrate their accomplishments with pizza, games, and signing a poster that honors their involvement.
The titles are selected by a group made up of high school students, high school librarians, teachers, and public librarians who attend a meeting in Springfield .They do a throw down of titles from a wide range of genres that have been published in the last ten years. Once the list is completed sometime in March, Leyden orders enough of these titles so we have plenty to circulate for the new school year.
Ms. Judith Condren, the librarian here at East Leyden, has a lot of passion with getting students involved. She said, “As a reader you want to give book buzz.”
“A common misconception is that these books are about Lincoln, but they really are titles that range from fantasy, paranormal, non fiction, and adventure. Since these books are chosen by students, it has high appeal to young adult readers,” she explained.
Junior Jonathan Ildefonso is one of three students who are currently trying to read all twenty books, which is known as a “Double Duece.” If he accomplishes this, he will go on the official website honoring him and will even list Leyden along with his name.
In May the library, will have a big check out that will allow students to check out five of the new Abe titles for reading over the summer.
For more information about Abraham Lincoln Readers’ Choice Award and for the list of titles visit ISLMA’s website.