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Sparking Excitement for Reading Through Trading Cards 

December 11, 2023

Innovative classroom projects can serve as a catalyst for strong academic performance. Librarians at Brecknock Elementary School wanted to enhance the conventional reading curriculum by introducing a project that would excite children about reading and promote collaboration and creative thinking.  

To ensure students would enjoy the project and meet their required goals, the library staff tapped into a pre-existing student interest in trading cards. The project allowed students to learn about different book genres while collecting unique trading cards they helped to design.  

The students worked with the library staff to brainstorm book categories and genres. These categories later corresponded to characters on the trading cards. Within each category, graphic design students at Governor Mifflin Senior High School designed fantasy characters that were then printed on the cards. Students could collect different sets of character cards by reading books in a variety of genres. 

Both the elementary students and high school students imagined the specific details of the land the characters lived in, making for a much more collaborative and personalized project. They printed the cards in-house at the Governor Mifflin Print Shop.  

“The cards motivated third and fourth grade library users to thoughtfully explore new books that represent diverse characters, topics, and genres, and promote a sense of belonging and connection,” said Rachel Sebastian, Learner-Centered K-4 Teacher Librarian. 

The cards often encouraged children to pick books outside of their comfort zones. Teachers sometimes find it challenging to get children to develop an interest in nonfiction work, specifically nonfiction that is not about animals. This trading card project tackled this challenge by rewarding students for reading books outside of their comfort zone, as children collected different cards by checking out books of various genres from the library. 

In May, the library held a trading card convention, where students set up booths to share their favorite cards. 

The Literacy Trading Card program at Brecknock Elementary School breathed new life into the world of reading. By mixing the joys of reading and collecting, the initiative has succeeded in creating excited readers who view books as more than just words on paper. This innovative project shows students the magic that lies within every page and the endless possibilities that words can unlock. 

Funding for this project came from the Teacher Mini-Grants program of Berks County Community Foundation. To apply for a teacher mini-grant, please click here.

This article is part of our 2023 Annual Report. To read the entire report, download it here.

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