Go Ahead, Scam Me Kids!

WARNING: Rant Below.

So, my last post was about an easy interactive reading promotion idea using Post-It Notes I got from my fabulous friend (and one time mentee) Tiffany Whitehead. Didn't read it yet? Just landed here? That's OK, maybe you should go back and read it before going much further... it's OK, I'll wait. 
(watches Ancient Aliens loves that memetastic Giorgio A. Tsoukalos but can't stand the annoying voice of that David Childress)

This post was inspired by an anonymous blog comment. I'll post it below. Oh wait! Eep...sorry

You also probably should skim this Reading Promotion post, too! It's cool, I'll go check Twitter while you do and Tweet back to my favorite band of all time XTC & Andy Partridge.

Reading is the Key!

'Cause that's where the anonymous or unknown comment was left. My below rant will make more sense if you get the context. OH! I know, I'll screenshot it. Wait here for a sec. BRB.

Here's my reply... I think I went a little overboard. That happens.

Hello Unknown~ You know, it shows how much I'm so excited for a REAL comment (rather than the usual SPAM for classes in Mumbai, Mozambique, or Mobile that I get from spammers and bots) that I'll answer even an anonymous comment! Because, you know, how do I know it's "real" because if they cared that much for the answer, why can't they even leave a name, right?  Some great comments or questions I've even emailed to answer in more detail or called on the phone. Ok......enough of that. Sorry if that sounded snarky. 

How do I know the kid actually read the book?....Here's how I know. They returned the book!  If a kid really wanted SCAM me to get whatever kind of faux brass key, stuffed animal, sticker or prize...then have at it.

And when I did the Passport thing with the stamps, there really wasn't really a prize, just the the satisfaction of having every square stamped. I can't even remember if I gave it back to the kiddo or displayed it up on the board. But knowing how bad I am about changing my one bulletin board in the library, I'm pretty sure I just gave it to the kid with a big high five and a whooping "Great job sweetie, well done!"

Because, what's really the reason we're doing this? To get the kid in the door. OR to get the kid to read more. OR to encourage the kid to read a different or varied type or genre of book. Basically, just to get the kid to read.

At least they're visiting the library. Because, really...isn't that what we want? Occasionally, I'll flip open the book an pick out a character's name or event in the book and ask a random question, but really -- I don't care. (OK, I'm kind of fibbing here, I think I've done that like once or twice in my 20+ years)

But yeah, go ahead and SCAM me kids!  Come and get my prizes, just come to the library & check out a book. It's all good. For every prize I'm scammed out of, I'm sure there are dozens of kiddos avidly reading the books. Because that was me. I was that kid. I was the kid that came to get a book every morning and every afternoon. I was the kid that had the reading during class and hiding the book inside the desk trick down pat. I was RARELY caught. Ok, I was caught a couple times but I always did it.

Then, I transferred to Phillis E. Williams Elementary School, a 1970's OPEN CLASSROOM style school and for a kid like me, I thrived. I hurried up, hustled to every classroom in the pod and did all my work as fast and as well as I could, so I could get that free time to curl up in the School Library or classroom corner and just READ.

This is when I switched to public schools and got identified as a TAG kid, one of the BEST things was that I didn't have to do as much boring stoopid stuff that I already knew how to do, by rote,  and was able to "test out" and then craft my own learning plan. That's why I'm such a big fan of PBL and UDL as a Teacher Librarian. OK, enough about me - sounds kind of braggy. GAH. Sorry.

WOW...this turned out to be sort of a long rant. I hope it comes across ok, because I guess I'm sort of passionate about this topic.

Is this question all about assessment? OR some kind of statistic that you need to prove it's effective? Why not compare your circulation stats BEFORE the reading promotion, during, and then after? Did it jump way up? GREAT! Make an infographic, a pie graph or a bar graph that illustrates your success.

When it comes to reading promotion, I want to do fun things to encourage kids to read that doesn't cost a lot of money, doesn't take a lot of time to manage or organize. (Yeah, I'm kind of lazy that way) I like a reading promotion that has that special something -- that fun kind spark of engagement that will encourage the kiddos to give it a whirl.

What do you do to promote reading? What features do you find that makes a great and easy to do reading promotion?  And what's your name, hon? ;-)  Either way, hope that helped!


PS. Don't blog for comments. You won't get a lot of them. Even after having more than 3 MILLION (said with Austin Powers voice) visitors, I get like 4 genuine comments a year..... Le sigh.
For reals. I created this graphic months ago for a future blog post I wanted to write about ...well, blogging. But putting it here seems like a good idea!

About this picture.

A long long time ago in a far away place, OK...it was the late 70's in the DC Metro area....You can tell it was the 70's from the orange shag rug carpeting and my shag haircut. Anyway, that year there was a big blizzard that kept us out of school for days and days. I finished reading ALL my Library Books and it was COLD! So, I planted myself on top of the heating grate in our Living Room .....and read my falling apart Gothic Novel called The Laird of Tariff Hall. Mom, I guess, thought it was funny so she took this picture. Notice the Redskins Tube Socks I stole from my brother! Hee hee. Please take note of the crochet afghan that my Gramma made me. I still have the book. Wish I had the afghan. This was the other side of the living room. Here I am going to my first dance with my first boyfriend, Kyle. He was a sweet boy but kissing with both of us having braces was trixy. Don't read that Mom!
I got that shiny shirt at the thrift store for 25¢ I thought I was hot snot in it. He was a sweet boy. I met him in community theatre. I social engineered myself a part over the phone as an extra in Lil Abner. 
The director knew me because I was a kid extra in one of the plays he directed at my Bowie High School where my Mom was an English Teacher. Why pay for after school childcare when you have a hammy but biddable kid who is more than happy to be an extra in every school play? By the time I got to high school I had been in like 10 plays already. Says a lot about my early Gleek years.

Unthinkable Scragg comes to mind. I may not have even had a name, just a grubby little extra. It was a blast.

Anyway, Kyle lives in Annapolis now. Yeah, I just stalked him real quick on Google. Probably a good thing I'm not on Facebook. 

The next year I went to High School and discovered the band XTC and today, on Twitter, as I was writing this blog post, my musical hero of 39 years MADE MY DAY. See?

------->OMGosh, SQUEE! It's like the BEST THING EVER!!!!!

OK, enough rambling and reminiscing on and on. Don't know why I felt like sharing that. I think I'm pretty good about not nattering on about myself in my blog posts. Or at least I hope so! Or at least not during the main content area. Eep!  How tiresome! Night friends!

Please leave a Comment if you like and include your name if you'd like me to connect with you!

Please do not SPAM or try to SCAM me. That wouldn't be cool.


  1. This post has so much infomrative. It must be the bests blog on the webs. I am needing you iTunes gift cards please send sooner. 😆😊😉

    1. Hi James, thanks for your kind comment! Sure! Just give me your social security number and your date of birth so I can register a $100 iTunes gift card in your name! Also, please include your home address so I can send it to you! 😆😊😉

  2. Real person here, from MoCo. We must be about the same age based on your 70's photos and XTC fandom. I was a college DJ and played a lot of XTC. Love your blog. Thank you for sharing. Know that real people are reading it. Hope you have a great week! p.s. i'll take a free itunes gift card too ,-)

    1. Hey Jackie! or should I say, "Hello Neighbor!" I'm 53! .....turning 54 in late May! I'm kind of proud of my age because, well....since I'm not a "Real Housewife" I can't exactly change it, right? Thank you so much for your real comment. Truly means the world to me! Want to come over to my school and visit sometime - I can give you that iTunes gift card in person! (Greedy people! LOL) Srsly, I'd love to meet you! Are you going to the Common Ground conference? I'm presenting there on Friday. Cheers!

  3. Thanks for cheering me up! Just getting kids to come in and borrow (getting books back - possibly different story...) is most of the battle - we need to keep getting the message across to everyone that Reading is one of the most important life skills EVER!!!!

    1. Hello there, UK friend! I can not agree with you more! I just want the kids to come in and TRY reading. It's the kind of addiction I kind of want to promote. Like, hello kids....want a scratch n sniff scented bookmark? Gotta check out a book to get one....shameless! As for getting the books back, the older I get the less I'm worrying about that. There are ALL kinds of reasons kiddos don't return one. If even 1 kid out of 10 of my students, don't return a book because they LOVE it and WANT it in their life? And maybe their families can't afford to buy it for them in a bookstore or via Amazon? Well then, keep it. Just keep it. Are you on Twitter? I'd love to follow you there! And maybe next time I'm speaking in the UK we can meet in person! Cheers dear! ~Gwyneth

  4. Gwyneth,
    This post really made me laugh. I love the pics you shared from your childhood. Love those 70s! I turn 55 in one month, and I'm so excited to get my Goodwill discount! Haha!
    I pretty much agree with everything in your post and comments. I'm having the hardest time with my sixth grade LA teachers. It's April, and they have brought their kids to the library ONE time this year to check out books. Some students still have those September books!
    I give chocolate, licorice, erasers, etc. to my kids checking out books. Some kids I see daily. Hmmmm. Just one a day!
    And for those kids who just come to print... They get one of the fun poetry, Bigfoot, Guys Read, Top 10 Sports ______, You Wouldn't Believe... type books to take with them when they leave. I kind of feel like a pusher. Sigh. We do what we have to do.
    Keep up the hard (heehee) work! What a fabulous job!

    1. Hey Rhonda, thank you so much for taking the time to comment and glad you enjoyed the article. Maybe I should rant more! We do what we have to do. Full stop. Totally agree! If you're on Twitter or IG, please reach out to me, I'd love to connect!

  5. Thanks for making me laugh this morning! I completely agree with your post, and it drives me BONKERS when people ask "how do you know they read"? The best thing I can do is put kids in the library- if you build it, they will come and all that. Put a kid in a library, they will take out a book. If they have a book, they are about 100% more likely to read than if they don't have a book. And I was also that kid sneaking a book under her desk to read in class (and now I have an eight-year-old daughter who does the same thing).

    1. Thanks Supergirl in Suburbia for your comment! Glad I could give you a chuckle and I totally agree with you! -- If they have a book they are 100% more likely to read it than if they didn't have a book!
      Cheers dear! ~Gwyneth

  6. Yes. I did Book Bingo this year (loosely based on Popsugar's reader challenge) and I only questioned a handful of kids about their books, and those were only a few who had seemed to speed read their books in the course of a day. Otherwise, I threw them some options for a free book or dollar store treats and helped them checkout the next one for another Bingo. Love it; just get books in their hands.

    1. Hey Sarah! Thanks again for your comment. I love what you did with your kiddos. You know, even silly small things kids will remember and like. I mean, I've had kids get excited just from scratch-n-sniff bookmarks and Fortnight stickers!


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