By: Tiffany Wincek, Account Manager.

We’re always on the lookout for schools who are leading the way with digital initiatives. Now that the 2018-2019 school year is upon us, we want to highlight some of our partners’ creative strategies for driving student interest in ebooks and audiobooks.

Connect with extracurricular activities

 You may already be aware that you’re not reaching your entire student body. Consider curating collections that are relevant to your school’s extracurriculars.

  • Focus on titles about strategy, game history, and famous players relevant to your school’s sports teams. This list features audiobooks for sports fans!
  • Highlight spoken word artists and famous poets in support of your poetry club.
  • Group comics and graphic novels into a collection for art classes or clubs to use as inspiration.
  • Curate test prep materials for afterschool study groups and easy access for tutors.
  • Identify your school’s more obscure clubs and make an appearance at their next meetings to learn more about what books speak to them. #yarnclub

Pro Tip: Coordinate with coaches or club advisors so they’re informed about OverDrive, too! We have lots of ready-to-use promotional materials.

Foster friendly competition to boost literacy

Educational psychology teaches us that, as students mature, they will transition from external to internal motivation—but I’d be lying if I said my students didn’t love prizes well into their high school years. I’m in my 30s and I still smile when I receive a voting or blood donation sticker. Competition can happen at the district, school, classroom, or even student level.

  • Instate a Get Caught Reading campaign.
  • Host a district-wide essay or speech competition in conjunction with a social media campaign. Hot topics include the importance of equitable access, digital literacy, and digital citizenship.
  • Use Sora’s built-in reading progress statistics to set personal improvement goals for individuals, especially those not motivated by competition with peers.
  • Sprinkle no-pressure check-ins into the classroom, cafeterias, and corridors. A student wins if he or she meets certain criteria. Some examples include: has the Sora app downloaded onto a personal device, has one or more books on loan, has defined at least five words from a text, has checked out an audiobook, has earned a specific badge.

Pro Tip: Talk the talk and walk the walk. Let your students “quiz” you back!

Lights, camera, action! Promote your collection creatively

 Libraries and schools are stepping up their game when it comes to promotion. Have you seen the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative’s original rap video? How about the Capital One parody from Afton MS/HS? Don’t be afraid to get creative AND involve your students in the process.

  • Connect with students from film, business, and marketing classes, drama, theater, and music clubs or groups, National Honor Society, and more by uniting them to create a video like one of those linked above.
  • Record student recommendations as commercials to play on your student news channel or on a TV display in the school lobby or library. We do this on the Digital Bookmobile!
  • Feature students on your morning announcements. A top ten list of reasons why audiobooks rock or a list of titles from a new featured collection in Sora may be just the thing to spark interest.
  • Create a how-to video to play at open houses, new student orientations, and parent-teacher nights to engage your wider community.

Pro Tip: Use our Resource Center’s videos as a starting point—but featuring your own student population will be most effective.

Let us know how these strategies work for you, and don’t forget to check out Perspectives on Reading for continuing insight into the world of reading!