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90-Second Newbery Films, Accessible Books Empower Struggling Readers to Master Skills

Teachers, are you expecting struggling readers in class when school resumes? Explore the power of the "90-Second Newbery Film Festival" paired with accessible book formats to keep literacy on track. 

Accessible books are those that provide access to text when traditional print does not. Teachers also can keep engagement high when they offer creative ways of "making" and reporting about the book rather than rely on older traditional book report formats. 

Nothing But Newbery   

In an annual "90-Second Newbery" competition, young filmmakers create "weird movies that tell the entire stories of Newbery-winning books in about 90 seconds," according to program founder and author, James Kennedy. There are plenty of Newbery winners to choose from as the Association for Library Service to Children of the American Library Association the Association honors multiple books each year. The first awards came in 1922!

Engagement, Access

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival was founded in 2011 and just completed its sixth year. An array of titles and some diverse examples of creativity are posted on YouTube. All show Newbery-winning books that the students compressed into 90 seconds or less.

"Ever since 1922, the Newbery Medal has been recognized as the most prestigious award in children’s literature," Kennedy writes on his website. The entries, particularly in the past three years have been "ingenious, hilarious, and impressive—from musicals to stop-motion Claymation, from puppet shows to Minecraft, " he adds. 

Film-Book Ideas


Accessible educational materials (AEM) help to create access to the curriculum for students with dyslexia, learning disabilities, vision or physical challenges, and others. A federally funded AEM program in every state assures that books in alternative formats are provided free of charge to eligible students with disabilities whose education teams take action. The AEM program operates under a legal exception to federal copyright law. Check out the AIM-VA home page to learn more about eligibility in Virginia. In other states, contact a special education teacher, a school administrator or download a list of AEM state contacts.External Link to AEM state contacts (New Window).

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