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!
Blizzards and floods couldn’t stop us from celebrating one of my favorite times of the year - Scholastic Book Fair Week! The gym was transformed into a lively space filled with books, giving our school a chance to celebrate the importance of reading.
The difference between a disinterested reader and an engaged, enthusiastic reader is access to great books and lots of time spent reading self-chosen books. The fair gives our students a chance to browse and choose books for themselves. They are able to keep these books and call them their own, reading them over and over again. Being able to read books they actually want to read can ignite a passion for literacy. I truly believe that reading cultivates curiosity and opens a world of possibility.
Hosting the book fair takes a lot of planning and hard work, but it’s worth it to see the students falling in love with reading. I love seeing the excitement on their faces when they walk into the fair for the first time. In the end we made over $2,500! This is the most we have ever made in the history of book fairs at the Shaw. Thank you to everyone for being part of a successful book fair. It was wonderful to see so many families exploring the fair and choosing books. On top of hosting a successful fair in the school building, every single item on our online school wish list was purchased! Thank you to those friends in neighboring towns of Newton and Arlington who supported our school. We will be able to add some wonderful new books to the library collection. I appreciate everyone’s ongoing support!
Mrs. Keohane is the School Librarian at the P.A. Shaw. She loves hockey, going to the beach, and reading (obviously!)