Making Your Mark With Graffiti-Books

Jasper Alexander, Writer

Do you enjoy reading? If you do, then I have good news for you. Helena High librarian Mrs. Didriksen is working on a new program for English classes called Graffiti-Books. Graffiti-Books are books in which students can make annotations IN THE BOOK! Didriksen says she had this idea after stumbling upon a school library journal featuring schools that have done this in the past. 

“Students can learn to have a reader’s conversation,” Didriksen said. A reader’s conversation is where a student who reads the book will annotate a book and turn it back into the library, when another student coming along is interested in checking out the same book, they will get to look over the past students’ annotations and add their own annotations. This would repeat over and over again, until the book is filled with annotations from its various readers. Books that will be offered in this program range from Stephen King’s The Shining, to Ricky Yancey’s The 5th Wave.  

Unfortunately, the program is not currently official, but it is being piloted in Mrs. Preshinger’s sixth period English 3 class. “There is power in students having choice,” Preshinger said. Preshinger hopes that if students are given choices about what they read and how they annotate, they will grow to enjoy reading and become lifelong readers. Another of Preshinger’s hopes is that by reading and annotating a full book, it will help them become better writers as well. 

This program is certainly exciting and, luckily, it seems students in Mrs. Preshinger’s sixth period English 3 class are enjoying it. These readers’ conversations are a fun way to enjoy annotating and feel connected to the book you’re reading. Even though the Graffiti-Books program is not official yet, that does not mean you cannot start one of your own. So, grab a book from your own library and start jotting down your thoughts. Who knows, you might find a book or author you connect with! 

If the program is approved, you just might see a Graffiti-Books shelf in the library with a mix of books you can read and write it.