Empower your students to leave a legacy with the Follow in My Booksteps project.

In The Fault in Our Stars, John Green wrote “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

This student-centered reading experience  fosters a love of books through peer recommendation and mentorship. Older students serve as guides for younger readers, with personal notes of encouragement to spark a love of reading.

What makes this different is that it is not the teacher handing a student a book with a study guide saying, “read this and answer these questions by such and such a date.” Follow in My Booksteps is giving the gift of a worthy reading experience. It is an organic means of developing reluctant and passionate readers alike. It is about looking a student in the eye and saying, “this book meant something important to someone else and I think it can mean something to you as well.:

Let students pay-it-forward. Allow them to put great literature in the hands of younger students today.

Here’s how it works:

1. Students donate books from their personal library that they loved and that they wish to share the possibility of a similar love with  someone else.

2. Students write an inscription, explaining what they loved about the book and encouraging others to enjoy it as well.

3. The collected books are then distributed to younger students to foster a love of books and reading.

  • darlene

    This is such a clever idea! Thank you for sharing!
    Darlene
    ELABuffet

  • This is a great idea! Wondering if we can pull this off next year instead of the traditional book swap that we have at our school, or even as an addition…

  • Cheryl

    What is the name of that barn in Long Island where they sell the books? I would love to visit there this summer if time allows.

    • Brian Sztabnik

      Cheryl,

      It is the Ketcham Inn Foundation, on Montauk Highway in Center Moriches. It is open on weekends and well worth the drive. http://www.ketchaminn.org/book-barn

      Brian

  • Gerard_Dawson

    This is an awesome idea.

    It reminds me of a similar idea that my professor Jim Mahoney used in our Methods of Teaching Writing Course at The College of New Jersey. (Brian, as an aside, Mr. Mahoney taught in Long Island for many years. Check out his book, Power and Portfolios).

    Anyway, on the first day of class, Mr. Mahoney asked us to bring our favorite book, with a letter inside for a future reader explaining the importance of the book to us. We taped the letters in the inside cover.

    We did a book pass that first day, and everyone ended up with someone else’s book that looked interesting.

    We had the whole semester to read the book and write a letter back to the owner. On the last day of class, we returned the books to the original owner, and everyone got their favorite book back with a letter from a classmate.

    It’s something I’d love to try with my high school students, but haven’t done yet. Thanks for sharing, Brian!

  • liz galarza

    I love this idea!! Thanks for sharing!