STEM Fun & Voting Excitement!

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STEM Fun & Voting Excitement!

Written by: Jessica Zepik

November 3, 2021
young girl looking at books on a shelf
Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

Each year, a group of librarians and teachers who have an eye for what students love compile a list of nominees for the Young Hoosier Book Award. Their goal is to encourage and promote self-selected reading by having students read the chosen books and participate in voting for their favorite. The books are divided into three categories, depending on which grade levels the books are best suited for. All Young Hoosier Book Award nominees have to meet a set of criteria including literary quality, suitability of vocabulary, and level of appeal to students. Therefore, these books are fantastic choices to use as a base for high-quality lessons and activities in classrooms and libraries. The Indiana Library Foundation has developed resource guides and activities for the books, which contain summaries, discussion questions, trailers, vocabulary lists, makerspace activities and many more ideas. In addition, there are links to Teachingbooks.net, which include additional resources such as author interviews, book readings, and lists of other awards and distinctions the book has received. They can be accessed through these links:

Research has found the use of literature to get students excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is an effective practice. This YouTube playlist contains a collection of resources and STEM connections to the Young Hoosier picture book nominees. Be sure to subscribe to it so you will be notified when new books are added!

Research has found the use of literature to get students excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is an effective practice.
Photo by Johnny McClung on Unsplash

At the end of each school year, the Indiana Library Federation, who sponsors the Young Hoosier Book Award, holds a contest to determine which books from each of the three lists receive the distinction of being the favorite Young Hoosier book. Students need to have read at least 12 of the picture, 5 of the intermediate, or 3 of the middle grade books in order to be eligible to vote. It is also acceptable for students to have the books read aloud to them. Voting can take place through the school by a classroom teacher or librarian submitting votes or students can vote directly if learning from home. This voting video explains more about the process.  Votes are due by June 1st of each year, and winners are announced shortly after. Then, new lists are available for the upcoming school year so students can get started reading them right away. Teachers, librarians and/or students can get involved in the book selection process by filling out a YHBA book nomination form. To ensure all students are reading, interacting and learning from these high-quality pieces of literature, schools and libraries across Indiana are encouraged to be involved with the Young Hoosier Book Award initiative.



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  • Jessica Zepik

    Jessica Zepik is a Media/eLearning Specialist at East Elementary, which is a part of South Madison Community Schools in Pendleton, IN. Her role includes managing the elementary library and supporting teachers and students with blended learning. She coaches the Spell Bowl team, sponsors the Girls Who Code club and serves on the School Improvement Committee. Jessica has a graduate certificate in Online Teaching and Assessment, a high ability endorsement and is a Project Lead the Way and Project Based Learning trainer. She is a lifelong learner who is passionate about education and loves working with teachers and students!

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