Simply put, books are powerful. They provide opportunities for imagination, discovery, deep thinking and learning, and may even lead to truly transformative experiences. Our students have a complex history with the power of the printed word. For some, the frustration is so palpable that books begin to be viewed as a roadblock they wish not to tackle. For others, there may be what presents as indifference to reading or even a reluctance to read. What is beautiful to witness at The Craig School is when our students unlock the reading code and gain the skills needed to begin a new relationship with books, reaping the benefits of deep understanding and rich comprehension. Walking the hallway of Wilson Hall just this morning, I found students excitedly sharing aloud stories they wrote and reading passages from books they love.
Each March, The Craig School celebrates National Reading Month, through Read Across America events, such as a Dr. Suess writing workshop in our high school, a special Dr. Suess-themed breakfast for lower and middle school students, and a school-wide “Drop Everything and Read!” event. This is followed up with our annual Scholastic Book Fair, March 9th-11th located in Wilson Hall on the Lower and Middle School. Each is intentionally part of our programming to enhance our students’ relationship with books.
Read Across America, which is also the birthday of Dr. Suess, is celebrated each year on this very day, March 2nd. It began as a means for parents, teachers, and communities to help young people uncover the fun and curiosity that reading can bring to us. Today, our hope remains that through these focused activities during National Reading Month, our students find a renewed sense of joy in reading. As students master lower-level reading skills (e.g. phonics, phonemic awareness, etc.) and begin to acquire more complex and nuanced skills (e.g. fluency and comprehension), focused reading-related festivities, such as Read Across America, are tools The Craig School uses to promote a positive attitude toward reading and to begin a new page in our students’ journey with books. Additionally, I find these two research-backed suggestions helpful in our thinking about how to spark our students’ joy of reading:
Developing skilled reading is a lifelong process. At The Craig School, we provide students with the tools and strategies needed to fully comprehend what they read, in addition to experiences that promote positive moments in which to discover the power found within books.