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NYC Reads 365: How to Promote NYC Reads 365 to Students

NYC Reads 365 is a citywide reading initiative sponsored by the NYC Department of Education, recommending books hand-picked by NYC school librarians.

How to Promote NYC Reads 365 to Students

Click on the links below for some great ideas on how to get kids excited about reading, and find the right books for them.

  1. This Libguide!
  2. TeachingBooks
  3. Book Talks
  4. Creative Display
  5. Share with Friends Online
  6. Share with Friends in Real Life
  7. Announcements
  8. Book Clubs
  9. Games
  10. Contests
  11. Parties
  12. Buddy Readers

The Libguide

Include a link to this Libguide in your monthly newsletter and on your website. Here's some sample text you can copy and paste:

Looking for great books to read? Check out NYC Reads 365 for new, exciting books in every genre! To learn more, visit 

Use to make NYC Reads 365 come alive is packed with multimedia resources you can use to highlight books from the NYC Reads 365 list. Here's just a sampling of the tools, videos and links you can find on TeachingBooks:

  • Author/illustrator websites and blogs
  • Name pronunciations
  • Book trailers
  • Video book readings and interviews
  • Lesson plans, discussion guides, and activities
  • Reader’s Theater
  • Text complexity

Check out all the NYC Reads 365 resources on

Dazzle Your Students with Book Talks 

Most librarians agree that Book Talks are one of the best ways to get students interested in reading a specific book. Remember the basic rule for great book talks: "Sell, don't tell."

In other words, talk about what makes the book exciting and what types of readers would love it -- but don't describe the plot or give away the ending!

For more book talking tips, check out these excellent resources:

And don't forget, you're not the only one who can give book talks!

Why not...

  • Have your students book-talk a favorite title to their class?
  • Have your students create 30-second Book Talks and (with parental permission) post them on the school/library website, Vimeo, or YouTube?
  • Have the principal, teachers, and other staff do Book Talks for morning announcements?

Create a NYC Reads 365 book display in your library.

Take some cues from retail stores -- display your books in enticing ways!

Make it easy for students to find the books by grouping them prominently in one place. Be creative, but keep it simple.

Here are some great resources to help you "merchandise" your books:

Bulletin boards are another place to create a compelling display. One fun idea is to create a “Look Who’s Reading” board with teacher’s (or student's) heads and books open as though they are reading. Kids guess which teacher is reading which book.

Share with Friends Online

Research shows that one of the best ways to get kids to read is peer recommendations. And nowadays, students love to share online. Show your students that there's more to social media than Instagram or YouTube.

There are social media sites for books! 

  • GoodReads
    Consider creating a private GoodReads group for a school book club, a specific class, or for your library. Students can join the private group and comment as they read books, make recommendations to each other, etc. More information is available in the GoodReads post about using it as a teaching tool.
  • Biblionasium
    Biblionasium is a book-oriented social-networking site for elementary school students and younger. For more information, visit Biblionasium's Teacher/Educator information page.
  • Shelfies
    • Choose a hashtag for your program, for example, "#nycreads365shelfie". 
    • On Instagram, have the kids post their "Shelfies": the book they're currently reading. The picture must be tagged with the program hashtag. The students don't have to be in the picture; the photo should focus on the book, and perhaps the place where they like to read it.
    • Use the hashtag as a search term and post all the entries on the library website.

Share with Friends in Real Life

Find ways to encourage students to talk to their friends about the books they like, and why they like them. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Make a hallway bulletin board display, using book covers and blurbs, and post the students' own reviews of the books.

  2. Have students create digital read-alouds or book trailers, and host them on your library website where everyone can access them.

  3. Have students create their own shelf-talker cards explaining why they loved a certain book.

  4. Run a “What books would you add to NYC Reads 365?” survey.

  5. Create a poster listing names of kids who’ve read specific books, and who are willing to talk about them.

Promote Books During Morning Announcements

During morning announcements, the whole school is a captive audience. Don't let that time go to waste. Promote books!

  • Schedule your own book talks once a week or once a month.
  • Suggest to the principal that she/he do a book talk on a regular basis.
  • Organize teachers and staff to offer book talks according to a set schedule.
  • Book of the Week
    Organize a school-wide "Book of the Week." This could take many different forms:
    • Feature the "Book of the Week" on morning announcements. Have students, staff, and the principal sign up to book talk their Book of the Day/Week.
    • Create a special "Book of the Week" bulletin board
    • Feature the "Book of the Week" on your library website or newsletter to parents

Start a Book Club

Starting a school book club is an excellent way to show kids how reading doesn't have to be solitary -- it can be a very social endeavor! 

"Gamify" Your Kids' Reading Life 

The internet is filled with creative ideas that merge reading with popular games. Here are just a few:

Run a Contest

There are so many creative book-reading contest ideas out there. Here is a sampling:

  • "25 Books to Read..." Bookmark Contest
    ​This suggestion is inspired by the contest run by Esther Keller-Lewenstein at Marine Park Intermediate School.
    • First, decide on your contest theme. Is it "25 Books to Read Before You Graduate Elementary/Middle/High School"? Or "25 Books That Should Be Classics"? Or "25 Books to Help You Survive Elementary/Middle/High School"? Or "25 Best Summer Reading Books"? Use your imagination.
    • Second, design a way for students to vote on the book they think should be included. Make a paper form, or use Google Forms to host the voting online.
    • Give students a deadline and tally the votes.
    • The 25 books that received the most votes are the final list.
    • Announce the final list to students, and have them create bookmark designs that incorporate the list.
    • Post all the bookmark designs publicly and have students vote on their favorite bookmark.
    • The bookmark with the most votes wins. Make copies of the bookmark (try for inexpensive professional printing) and distribute them in your library!
  • Book Cover Redesign Contest
    Set up a contest for which students compete to create the best "cover redesign" for a specific book. 
    • Have students pick a favorite book which they feel needs a better cover.
    • Give students a book cover template which they can use to design the new book jacket. ReadWriteThink offers an excellent "book cover creator" app which you could use to generate the template.
    • Once you've received all your submissions, display them and allow students to vote on the best redesign.
    • Offer a prize to the winning designer -- perhaps a free book of their choice!
  • 90-second Newbery
    ​The 90-second Newbery contest is one of the most creative ways to get your students engaged with their favorite book. Choose a few of the best videos from previous years to show kids how wild they can be (as James Kennedy, founder of the contest, wrote, "The 90-Second Newberys people have submitted in the past three years have been ingenious, hilarious, and impressive—from musicals to stop-motion Claymation, from puppet shows to Minecraft!") To get them even more excited, let them know that their video will be shown to a packed audience at the official 90-second Newbery film screening at New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, held in March. Information about the contest is available here:

Host a Party

  • Organize a book “speed dating” party (see for instructions).
  • Host a "Book Lovers' Ball," where students bring their favorite book as their "date". Have students book talk their "date." Then, dancing, munchies, and photos!

Start a Buddy Reading Program

Buddy Reading programs can be very effective ways to generate reading enthusiasm among students. They can be designed to pair younger students with older students, or young readers with volunteers from local community groups, businesses, or the PTO. ​Below are a few excellent sources of information on how to set up a Buddy Reading program in your school, as well as a NYC-area organization that pairs corporate volunteers with local schools:

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