Over the past few months I have been on a mission to build capable readers. I have been working to create a school wide reading culture that promotes reading as a lifestyle. Creating lifelong readers doesn’t just happen, but takes everyone in the community to reach that objective. Check out some of the things the Shaw library is doing to create a reading culture for independent literacy!
African American Read-In
In February, everyone participated in the Shaw’s first African American Read-In. The National African American Read-In is the nation’s oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. It was established by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. It was started specifically to create a bigger audience for African American authors. With the help of ReadBoston, teachers and students selected books, poems, and speeches by African American authors and illustrators. We encouraged students to read outside of their preferred genres and pick a book outside of their comfort zone. Some teachers read stories aloud while other classes had students reading independently. It was also a great way for our students to see teachers as readers. Vertex donated bookmarks and small gifts to everyone at the Shaw in recognition of the rich history and profound legacy African Americans have made.
In March we hosted our annual Scholastic Book Fair. With the help of our art teacher Ms. Farmer, K1 students created their favorite book characters to use as decorations for the big event.
Students and their families had the opportunity to pick out books and read them together. It was a great way to link our students with new literature and bring the community together in honor of that mission.
There was even a visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog. The Book Fair raised $2,759.96. With these funds we will be able to purchase lots of new and exciting books for the Shaw library!
March was also Women’s History Month, and students celebrated by reading stories about strong influential women making a difference. Vertex volunteers came in to read stories aloud about women and science. They talked to students about their experiences working in a science-focused career and had some wonderful discussions. Students loved asking questions and learning more about the impact female scientists have had on the world.
Through these events, our Shaw students are becoming strong and capable readers who read widely and diversely. We will continue to build a community of readers for the rest of the year!
Because learning happens 24/7 and not just during the school week, I attended the Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA) Conference in Framingham the last weekend in March. There were some incredible speakers, including Andrea Davis Pinkney and Jack Gantos. There were also some amazing presenters, talking about everything from creating a student-centered library to making the library accessible with technology.
I presented on two different topics at the conference. The first was titled Virtual Learning Commons (VLC): The digital heart of a school community and district. The panel presentation focused on cultivating a school library web presence to reinforce the role of the library as the “heart of the school community."
The second presentation was titled “Making Readers”: How Makerspaces Can Impact Literacy. The presentation explored the learning opportunities that emerge when bringing student imagination to life and demonstrated the unique affordances of maker activities to ensure meaningful student engagement and transform teaching and learning. We showed how students can use hands-on materials to take control over their own learning and become an active part of the learning process when reading stories. We looked at some real project examples, showing attendees resources they can use in their own space.
I had a wonderful time meeting librarians from across the state, sharing tips on how school libraries are for everyone. It was an exciting night for the Shaw as Ms. Osei-Bobie won the Administrator Advocate Award. This award honors administrators who have made significant contributions to the promotion of effective school library programs and services. It recognized the significant impact Ms. Osei-Bobie has had on the Shaw’s library.
Mrs. Keohane is the School Librarian at the P.A. Shaw. She loves hockey, going to the beach, and reading (obviously!)