Predicting Literary Winners

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The prestigious Caldecott medal candidates were the center of attention during a recent literary study at Babylon Elementary School. Working with library media specialist Teri Polis, the school’s second-grade students learned about the distinguished American picture book award and made predictions about the 2015 winner.

Leading up to this year’s official announcement, the students learned about the criteria for contenders and the process for selecting the annual winner and honor books. The students then had the chance to participate in a mock selection process. They each chose two books they thought might win. Working in groups, they reviewed more than half of the official finalists and made predictions of which book would be awarded the medal.

At the end of the unit, the classes watched the broadcast of the official announcement, and many were pleasantly surprised to learn they too chose this year’s winner, “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend” or one of the six honor book recipients.

“My goals for the Caldecott unit were to have students critically evaluate picture books, predict a winner based on the criteria, and then persuade their classmates to agree,” said Ms. Polis. “This engaging experience gave them a sense of ownership in the Caldecott award process, a new appreciation for illustrations, and the inspiration to try new books.”