Category Archives: Day School

The 2016 Summer Reading Challenge

Dear Families,
Summer provides such wonderful moments for discovery. With extra time off or just a few more hours of daylight in our evenings, most of us use the summer months to discover new hobbies, travel to new places, and dive into stacks and stacks of books.
Let’s make this a summer for discovering books. One of our favorite moments in the reading process is the hunt: searching for new titles and asking family and friends for their recommendations. This leads to surprises and great conversations. This quest to find books is an invaluable part of the reading process, a part that we help cultivate each week in our Lower School library sessions.
For the past several years, the Library Team has issued annual summer reading recommendations. These lists provide several great options, and our recommendations from 2014 and 2015 are still available for your enjoyment. The New York Public Library and the Association for Library Service to Children provide a wonderful selection of suggestions, as well.
In lieu of our usual recommendations, we are issuing a call to action: discover new, enchanting and surprising titles that we might not otherwise encounter within our normal range of reading interests. Below, you will find a list of ‘reading challenges’ that are shaped to help you and your child find new titles.

2016 Summer Reading Challenge

Any student starting the fall with a list of eight different titles that cover the eight summer reading challenges will be invited to a special Summer Reading Reception during the first full week of school.
We’ll sip lemonade. We’ll dive into the library’s famous homemade cookies. We’ll share our lists, recounting our favorite discoveries. And we’ll also offer first access to the hundreds of new titles that we’ll add to our collection over the summer.

We hope these challenges bring you a summer’s worth of reading interests and surprises. Below, you’ll find a list of local libraries that offer such great reading resources.

Tacoma Public Library

Pierce County Public Library

Kitsap Regional Library

Timberland Regional Library

While we are closed for regular library service over the next two months, do let us know if there is any other support we might offer you and your family. We wish you the best adventures from now until August, and we’re excited to see how your child takes on the 2016 Summer Reading Challenge.

All the best,

Joe Romano

Library Media Specialist




Visiting Author: Stuart Gibbs!

The Library & Learning Commons is excited to announce that New York Times best selling author Stuart Gibbs will visit Annie Wright Schools on April 14 from 1:30-2:30.


Gibbs is the author of several series, from his FunJungle Books and the Spy School series. He is currently touring the United States to promote his newest release, Spaced Out,  the second book in the Moon Base Alpha series.

Stuart Gibbs will speak to our 4th and 5th graders about his life as a learner, adventurer, and writer.

Stuart’s books will be available for purchase through our Annual Book Fair, and Stuart will then stay after his talk to sign books.

Below are some of the titles that will be available. Prices already include tax.

Moon Base Alpha #1: Space Case | recommended for ages 8-12 | paperback | $8.76

Moon Base Alpha #2: Spaced Out | recommended for ages 8-12 | hardcover | $18.62

Spy School #1 | recommended for ages 11-14 | paperback | $8.76

Spy School #2: Spy Camp | recommended for ages 11-14 | paperback | $8.76

Spy School #3: Evil Spy School | recommended for ages 11-14 | paperback | $8.76

FunJungle #1: Belly Up | recommended for ages 11-14 | paperback | $8.76

Thanks to Secret Garden Books for facilitating this great author visit!


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Results! The First Annual Adelaide Preston Grande Olde Reading Bee

Library Patrons and Library Fans,

This year’s First Annual Adelaide Preston Grande Olde Reading Bee was a fierce competition that the headmistress herself would have been proud to preside over.

The Reading began heatedly from Day 1, with 2nd and 3rd grade jumping out to early leads. But the Bee became even more intense as 1st and 5th grades battled back within minutes of our early reading leaders.


We tracked progress for our Reading Bee by giving each participating class their own box to zip line across the library bulletin board. The reading was so vast and expansive, we would need a wide angle lens to capture all the action.

At high noon on Wednesday, March 23, the First Annual Adelaide Reading Bee concluded, and the sheer numbers are astounding.

Our Lower School amassed 83,527.76 minutes over the span of 10 days.

83,527.76 minutes. That’s the equivalent of 1,392 hours. 58 days. 8.2 weeks!

Those are numbers of would have caused Adelaide Preston herself to yawp a resounding, “Huzzah!”

In the lower division, 2nd Grade took the victory by amassing 12,920 minutes.

In the upper division, 5th Grade nabbed a late lead to finish with 19,270.

In the coming weeks, 2nd & 5th Grade will receive their plentiful reward:  a Party-in-a-box ziplined to them from atop our school.

Congratulations to all our young readers. Each and every class posted such impressive numbers. We’re already plotting next year’s First Annual Adelaide Preston Grande Olde Reading Bee, so stay fit for competition by keeping your eyes on those books.


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The Book Fair Returns!

Students, Parents, Teachers!

During the week of April 11 through April 15, we invite you to the Library & Learning Commons for our Annual Book Fair. The Book Fair will open on the afternoon of April 11, and we will run from 7:30 to 8:00am each morning thereafter and from 3:00 to 4:30 on each afternoon of that week. We will also extend the book fair hours to 5:30pm on Wednesday, April 15 in celebration of Annie Writer’s Tea.

This year’s Book Fair also coincides with a visit from New York Times best-selling author Stuart Gibbs, who will speak to our 4th and 5th graders about the adventurous and imaginative life of a writer. 4th and 5th graders will have the opportunity to have their copies of Stuart’s books signed by the author himself. Click here to learn more about this opportunity.

As in years past, we are excited that Seattle-based independent bookstore Secret Garden Books will be organizing our book fair. They’ll stock the fair with classic, eclectic and contemporary selections for any reading level and interest in our community. We particularly appreciate Secret Garden’s commitment to high quality books that resist commercial messaging.

Students are welcome to shop during their morning recess with a teacher’s permission or before and after school with a supervising adult. You can pay for your purchases with cash, a credit card, or a check payable to ‘Secret Garden Bookshop.’ Unfortunately, we cannot charge purchases to your Annie Wright Schools bookstore account at this time.

Our book fair provides a wonderful opportunity to excite readers young and old with wonderful selections, and proceeds of the fair contribute to maintaining our library’s expansive collection. If you have any questions, please contact Joe Romano or Carla Clark regarding the book fair.

And! Our book fair runs the smoothest with the generous help of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for our book fair for an afternoon (or for the week!), do let us know, and we’d be happy to have your help hawking books.

Happy Reading. And we’ll see you at the fair!

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Announcing: The 1st Annual Adelaide Preston Grande Olde Reading Bee

Tradition holds that our young Day School readers shall spend one week per year competing in a challenge that promotes, provokes, and motivates close, intensive reading of the wonderful works we hold in our classroom and library collections.

This year is no different, and we in the Library & Learning Commons are proud to announce the commencement of this year’s challenge, named after one of the most important figures and champions of reading throughout our school’s exemplary history:

Screenshot 2016-01-29 16.42.11

The 1st Annual Adelaide Preston Grande Olde Reading Bee

Ms. Preston began her tenure as principal at Annie Wright School in 1913 and she spent sixteen years at our helm, providing the vision and effort necessary to transition Annie Wright into its current iconic building.

Of her many passions and abilities, Principal Preston was an incredible advocate of reading; thus, we are launching a reading bee in her honor.

The Rules

Our Reading Bee is a quest to see which Day School grade level can team together to complete the most total minutes of reading within a single week.

At 8am on Monday, March 14, students from Kindergarten to 5th Grade may begin tallying the minutes they spend intently reading each and every day of the week (please note: our Kindergarteners may include minutes they are read aloud to). Each afternoon, teachers will provide the library with the total amount of time their students spent reading throughout the day. Our young Day School readers may continue to accrue minutes by reading at home, and parents can record their children’s efforts on the form at the bottom of this bulletin.

The Library will continue to tally contributions until 12:00pm on Wednesday, March 23.

Whichever grade level accrues the most reading minutes throughout the week will be rewarded with a prize Adelaide Preston herself would admire.

The Prize

We have named our Reading Bee after Adelaide Preston, as reading was a primary passion for this principal. We have also designed a prize worthy of this esteemed school leader’s second passion: ziplines.


Given our principal’s zest for ziplines, the grade level that reads for the most minutes throughout the week will be awarded with a Party-in-a-Box. And this Party-in-a-Box will be no ordinary box. Instead, it will be ziplined down to the winning grade level, as so:

None of the eight pizzas ensnared in that net were harmed in the making of this video.

A post shared by Joe Romano (@romano47) on

We will be offering two Parties-in-a-Box, one to the Grade K-2 champions, and one to the Grade 3-5 champions.

The winning grade levels will be announced after the March break. Look daily for updates on how this event unfolds!

Parents and Teachers, Please Submit Reading Minutes Here:





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The Week in Library: 2!

The bustle! Our favorite moments in the Learning Commons arrive when there’s a cacophony meetings, classes, and independent workers sharing the space all at once. Stop by the library between 2:30 and 4:00, and you’ll likely see several Upper School activities sharing the many breakout spaces in the library, staff meetings for our Extended Day program, 4th graders participating in their Guided Reading program, parents and grandparents awaiting the day’s release, and several others wandering through for reading materials or library resources. These moments really showcase the flexibility and design features we engineered into the space in the summer of 2014, shifting the library into a ‘modern learning environment.’

Which is all to say that we’re settling into the normal pace of school life in the library. Despite the bustle described above, the library still serves for sanctuary for many of our students during certain parts of the school day, and each new school year brings a new corps of patrons who opt to use the library for study hall, a recess alternative, or for meeting space. It’s been wonderful to see a corps of 4th graders gather in the library to draw during recess, instead of the 4th graders of last year who made great use of the 3D printer during their daily breaks.

Among other events, classes, and happenings, this week’s library featured the first ever visit from Preschool, who showed exceptional library manners (even shushing the librarian during his read-aloud). We also hosted our 10th grade English class as they scoured the shelves for independent reading materials. I book talked several of our most renowned selections, while offering resources to help them find and select book titles, such as BookRiot, YourNextRead, and GoodReads.

Here are several recommendations, including my favorite podcast episode that I tuned into this past week!


Kalpa Imperial, by Angelica Gorodischer

Click here for to access our digital edition


The Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean


Image borrowed from 99% Invisible’s landing page for Episode 180. Photo taken by Håkan Dahlström.

99% Invisible: Episode 180: The History of the Refrigerated Shipping Container


Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos


Volcano Rising, by Elizabeth Rusch and Susan Swan (illus.)


Quest, by Aaron Becker

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The Week in Library: 1!

Happy New Year, AWS!. After a long, quiet summer, the library is ready for another raucous, vigorous year of reading, learning, and sharing. As a community space, the library was

Blue Tie Library Camp OutSome highlights from Week 1:

*9th Grade Orientation’s Camp out on the Soccer Field was moved indoors due to rain. While the Learning Commons is typically home base for homework and quiet reading in the after hours, we’re happy to host a multitude of events, and it was incredible to see the various forts and palaces our new and rising Blue Ties created.

*Middle School occupied the library on the opening day of school, as we cast aside all of our furniture to clear the floor for an exciting new year. While I didn’t get the chance to spend much of the orientation week with Middle School, I had a blast heading out to Millersylvania State Park to supervise a cabin for their overnight.

*5th Grade visited the library two times in two days, first to find titles for independent reading and second to challenge their library skills by navigating a scavenger hunt for titles relating to their Unit of Inquiry on Peace & Conflict.

*PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade all enjoyed reading and discussing Little Elliot, Big City. Inspired by Andy Plemmons’s ideas for using this text with his elementary library students, we also used the story of this industrious elephant to consider how we navigate our large library space with the help of our friends.

We rounded out the week with a visit from 2nd & 3rd grades along with a stint with my section of 9th Grade Humanities. If the week’s excitement and energy about reading and learning together is any indication, this year in library is going to be great.

A Week in Recommendations

I walk our shelves each Friday afternoon, unearthing titles in our collection that are worth a deeper look. With a return to wetter late summer weather, I was reminded of the great PNW tale of The Raven. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales has been such a hit with our younger readers, they are often unaware of the important dose of history these books provide; The Underground Abductor is Hale’s newest. The classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle wraps in almost every reader, and Drowned City is a timely reminder of the Katrina’s impact on New Orleans. And finally, The Theory of Everything: the story of a girl, her imaginary panda, and her quest to find her father. Kari Luna is an author to track, and this is best work to date.


The Theory of Everything, by Kari Luna


Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, by Don Brown


Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, by Betty MacDonald


The Underground Abductor: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, by Nathan Hale

ILLUSTRATED The Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, by Gerald McDermott

2015 Lower School Summer Reading Recommendations!

Dear AWS Parents and Community Members,

Summer presents itself with such wonderful opportunities for informal reading and learning. Our children have more chances to freely dive into the topics, activities, and stories that do not always fit into the hectic pace of school life. What follows is a list of non-required reading recommendations that I hope will capture the interests and imaginations for our rising Preschool through Fifth Grade students.

Many of these will serve as perfect launchpads for a summer flush with learning, creation, and imagination. I hope you consider sharing these stories with your children through read alouds and conversations, as this is one of the most proven ways for parents to encourage academic success in children of all ages. Each title also presents opportunity for an accompanying activity, whether our young readers write a sequel, invent new stories with the same theme, or tackle a project that may have been presented within the narrative.

For more reading recommendations and techniques, you may consider Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook or Diane F. Frankenstein’s Reading Together. We have copies of these in our library should you wish to check them out this summer.

Likewise, you may be interested in pursuing guides like UnBored: the Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun and Tinkerlab: A Hands On Guide for Little Inventors. These are flush with ideas for summer projects you may like to explore with your child, the projects will surely spark new interests and develop invaluable skills.

Additionally, there are many summer reading events and activities planned at our local public libraries, and they themselves are great resources for reading recommendations, as well. Here are links to the children’s programming for several local libraries:

Tacoma Public Library

Pierce County Public Library

Kitsap Regional Library

Timberland Regional Library

If you have any questions regarding reading opportunities, suggestions, or activities, never hesitate to e-mail us:

Thanks for a great year of reading and learning. We’ll be excited to reopen the library in August.

All the best,

Joe Romano

Library Media Specialist

Reading Lists for Rising Grade Levels

Preschool and PreKindergarten


First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

A note on these lists:

When available, we have provided links to the e-book editions of our summer reading recommendations, as many of them are available through Overdrive, our digital lending service. You can access these titles through your home computer, an e-reader, a tablet device like the iPad or the Kindle Fire, or even your smartphone. Click here to learn how your device can access our e-reading services. During this process, you will be prompted to enter your student’s username and password. This username and password are both your student’s AWS ID number. If you need assistance in accessing OverDrive, please visit our library or send along an e-mail, and we are more than happy to help.
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Fourth Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. (from publisher’s note)
Have a Hot Time, Hades! by Kate McMullen

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Think you know the real story behind the Greek myths? Think again. Most people only know what Zeus wants them to. But the truth is, Zeus is a total myth-o-maniac. Hades, King of the Underworld, is here to set the record straight on how he ended up as Ruler of the Underworld and Zeus became King of the Gods. (from publisher’s note)

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, by Barry Deutsch

Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she “does” want: to fight dragons! (from publisher’s note)

Jinx, by Sage Blackwood

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library!

In the Urwald, you don’t step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter-churn riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magus. (from publisher’s note)

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K., by Greg Pincus
Gregory K is the middle child in a family of mathematical geniuses. But if he claimed to love math? Well, he’d be fibbing. What he really wants most is to go to Author Camp. But to get his parents’ permission he’s going to have to pass his math class, which has a probability of 0. THAT much he can understand! To make matters worse, he’s been playing fast and loose with the truth: “I LOVE math” he tells his parents. “I’ve entered a citywide math contest!” he tells his teacher. “We’re going to author camp!” he tells his best friend, Kelly. And now, somehow, he’s going to have to make good on his promises.(from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier

The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall | Click here for an e-book edition

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo | Click here for an e-book edition

Holes, by Louis Sachar | Click here for an e-book edition

Lincoln’s Graverobbers, by Steve Sheinken

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Third Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate Dicamillo

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. (from publisher’s note)

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Not so long ago, in a middle school not so far away, a sixth grader named Dwight folded an origami finger puppet of Yoda. For class oddball Dwight, this wasn’t weird. It was typical Dwight behavior. But what is weird is that Origami Yoda is uncannily wise and prescient. He can predict the date of a pop quiz, guess who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and save a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. (from publisher’s note)

The Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked , by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

When a call comes in about a crime down at the docks involving a missing schoolteacher and a duffle bag full of illegal fish, Zengo and O’Malley are going to have to learn to set their differences aside if they want to get to the bottom of this. Especially when the clues all point to Frank Pandini Jr., Kallamazoo’s first son and its most powerful, well-respected businessman. (from publisher’s note)

El Deafo, by Cece Bell

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid. (from publisher’s note)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

Big, Bad Ironclad, by Nathan Hale | Click here for an e-book edition

The Sasquatch Escape, by Suzanne Selfors & Dan Santat

The Terrible Two, by Mac Barnet, Jory John, and Kevin Cornell (illus.)

Fake Mustache, by Tom Angleberger | Click here for an e-book edition

The Fairy Tale Detectives, by Michael Buckley | Click here for an e-book edition

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