Librarian gets creative to instill literacy in students

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Mark Twain School for the Talented & Gifted is currently accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year. Visit www.dallasisd.org/twain to learn more.

When COVID-19 turned the world upside down last March, Pamela Rambert knew she needed to completely change how she operated the library at Mark Twain School for the Talented and Gifted.

E-books were a big part of Rambert’s solution in getting literature into the hands of her students. Every student has access to eBooks and audiobooks through Sora, a student reading app.

“Before Covid, we touched on eBooks every now and then, but now it’s a big push,” said Rambert.

Rambert’s passion for literacy took off when she attended college and, for the first time in her life, had access to a library. The book, “The Mis-Education of the Negro” by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, made a significant impact on her.

“I don’t want another kid to have to wait 18 years to be exposed to literature like I did,” Rambert said. “I want to get as many books as possible into the hands of my students.”

Rambert gets creative to help ignite a love of reading in her students, from offering reading prizes from Pizza Hut and Six Flags to hosting a virtual storytime on her YouTube channel. She constantly takes note of what her students are interested in to help her decide what to recommend to students.

Rambert also utilizes both state and local opportunities to encourage her students’ reading habits. Her students enjoy being a part of the Bluebonnet Award process.

Each year, 20 books are chosen for the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List. Schools and libraries across Texas participate in the program, encouraging students to read a minimum of five books from the list and then voting for their favorite title. The author of the book receiving the most votes wins the Texas Bluebonnet Award.

Rambert not only knows the importance of reading stories, but also equipping students to tell their own. One way she helps students learn to express themselves is through entering the Dallas Public Library’s Annual Express Yourself Youth Poetry Competition.

“I love my job,” said Rambert. “Mark Twain is such a family-oriented campus and it’s one of the best-kept secrets in town. These are topnotch kids coming from all over the city and the program we are building is fantastic.”

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