Success Stories

Bloomington High School North
Jump-start Students’ Lethargic Reading Habits With Surpass Book Reviews

Perhaps you don’t think an automation system can help boost circulation and motivate students to read and write. I encourage you to take a closer look at Surpass Library Automation software. We chose it for Bloomington High School North Library excited that the book review feature of Surpass Safari could move us toward a school goal: to encourage and motivate students to read and write more.

Surpass has been just the interactive program we were looking for.

Students and teachers write opinions about the books the library owns, and the reviews are published for all to read. After eight years, our online catalog has almost two thousand book reviews! We add at least 120 new reviews each semester.

Here’s how we do it: Each fall, I work with incoming freshmen and use Safari book reviews to get them excited about reading. Students read the reviews to select outside reading and assigned reading. Each semester, at least 30 students read four books and draft and revise reviews for them. That’s how we catalog 120 or more new reviews each term. At the end of the school year, we boast over 240 new reviews!

Students take pride in showing others what they have said about a book, and this entices other students to read. It’s sort of like formal word-of-mouth advertising! I think these peer recommendations are a very effective way to encourage reluctant readers to check out books and to read. Students listen closely to other students’ opinions. Teachers often use student book reviews to help other students select reading material.

The writing skills students learn is also valuable, of course. All reviews are revised and edited before publication. Some teachers have incorporated book review writing as a class assignment or extra credit. Teachers like the book review writing feature as well as the students!

If your library wants to implement a reading motivation program, I’d encourage you to switch to Surpass. It’s a comprehensive, easy-to-use library automation package that has the added bonus of a built-in feature to encourage reading and writing. We love it!