A book club for the new millennium: How The 39 Clues inspired a librarian
By Guest Blogger on August 11th, 2011
There’s no denying it, The 39 Clues is a phenomenon that’s swept the globe. All over the world, clue hunters read the books, collect the cards, play the online missions, and unlock the clues to be part of this amazing interactive adventure. On August 30th, Dan and Amy’s adventures will continue when a new series based on the popular multimedia franchise kicks off with The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers Book 1: The Medusa Plot, by Gordon Korman, hits stores nationwide. We at Scholastic have heard some amazing stories about how schools and libraries are getting in on the clue-hunting action. Rose Hagar, a media specialist in at the Absecon Media Center in Absecon, New Jersey is here to tell us how she’s gotten kids excited about reading by using The 39 Clues in her school system. Check out her very special guest post below.
The 39 Clues Take Over Our School!
How did a little project to introduce my students to a visiting author change us forever? It’s a long, involved story with several twists and turns that ends with the most perfect day ever. With a lot of help from supporters along the way The 39 Clues are now a part of the history of our school district.
In the spring of 2009 I started a 39 Clues Book Club (Books 1-3) for my middle school students in advance of an author visit by Peter Lerangis. The club was so successful that the following year I continued the middle school club (Books 4-7) and started another club for my 3rd and 4th graders. This past year we had the 3rd edition of the clubs through book 10.
Club meetings are never dull. In chapter 2 of The Maze of Bones we pretended to be Dan and made “tombstone” rubbings of all of our “donated by” plaques in the school garden. No one has to struggle on a difficult mission on the web site for very long before a member who has completed the mission will come over and give a useful hint or two. It is not uncommon to see a group of kids gathered around the books in the media center trying to solve one of the hidden clues. I now keep multiple copies of the Morse code and Cyrillic alphabet for just such occasions! Members who had completed all 10 missions were looking for another activity so we started creating a travel guide for the first series. We will continue the project when school starts again in September. Another project is creating audio podcast reviews of the books.
The most exciting event that brought our entire district together was a visit by Peter Lerangis and Jude Watson during the national book tour for Vespers Rising. It’s great when you can get the administration and faculty as excited as the kids for a book event! Peter and Jude did a presentation and book signing for grades 3 through 8. Club members had special access to lunch with the authors. During the lunch, thanks to Skype, we were also able to talk to two of the editors and the person who handles the online game. The kids asked our guests questions they prepared ahead of time. Our guests also asked the club members for their advice and gave the kids some “inside info.” Ssshhh – we won’t tell! Can I tell you how excited the kids were when Peter and Jude stayed for our club meeting?! Here’s a direct quote from several members, “Awesome!!!” They were thrilled to be able to show both authors how to complete the missions and show them the travel guide. The next day I asked one of the kids his opinion of the day and he said, “It was the best day of my life!”
Now that’s awesome and all because of a book!
Check out this slide show of The 39 Clues Book Club in Action:
To view captions click on full screen -> show info
I must acknowledge the Absecon Education Foundation and Charisse Meloto in the PR department at Scholastic for their generous support.
Interested in bringing The 39 Clues to your school? Check out The 39 Clues educator site for more information including discussion guides and author videos. How are you using The 39 Clues with your kids? Sound off in the comments.
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