Curriculum Matters: April 15, 2015
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
For the children in our Primary, Extended Day and Junior Level programs, learning to read is one of the elements that weaves their days, months and years together.
From the initial stages of sound to letter mapping until they read their first long chapter book, we support, nurture and coach our students to develop into avid readers. We believe this is an essential part of development in our society.
We purposefully designed our Extended Day/Junior Level Library experience to include a sense of excitement and magic alongside the more mundane aspects of choosing a book to take home. We did so with the hope that by the time they transition to the Upper Level annex across the street, EAC students would have become lovers of the art of reading and inculcated into this lifelong club. I am happy to report that we are overwhelmingly successful in this endeavor!
The Libraries at EAC are amazing, wonderful, and vibrant places.
In each of our buildings we have a library filled with books at all reading levels: stories, non-fiction, guides, joke and craft books, even a small selection of audio books!
Reading is celebrated at EAC, and readers are actively engaged in sharing the joy they find in each book with the other children in their class. This creates a culture where a conversation about favorite books is as common-if not more so-than one about favorite television shows or apps.
In the Extended Day/Junior Level Library students are found at least once a week chatting with peers. They discuss what they just read, what they plan to check out next, and what they might want to read the following week.
Librarians also help their peers select a “just right book”- a book that is challenging enough to strengthen reading muscles, but not so difficult that it isn’t fun to read. Librarians ask questions :what someone’s favorite book is, what they have read recently and loved, whether they like animals, magic, real life? All lead to choosing the perfect book for the week.
Being a Junior Level Librarian is a privilege reserved for the Lions, those in the third year of our JL program. In the three years since we started the JL Librarian program the job has taken on an aura of distinction, and those who perform it earn a significant amount of respect from their peers. More than one JL Tiger or Bear has confided to me that they can’t wait to be a Lion so that they too can be a Librarian!
(More than one former Librarian loved the job so much that they have offered to train their replacement, some even offering to come back from Upper Level to help out.)
In our society the ability to read is important, yet the time allowed for children to develop their reading skills and engage in reading for pleasure is often scarce. I feel incredibly blessed to be part of this small subset of active, engaged and enthusiastic readers!
At this year’s Celebration of the Arts (April 27th, 5:30-7:30 pm), I am thrilled to report that we will include the arts of reading and writing. During the event, in the foyer outside Laura’s office, Junior Level students will read from books they have written as part of our Picturing Writing curriculum.
Our third annual Book Fair will also be taking place before, during and after the Celebration. This year a portion of the proceeds from our Book Fair will be donated to a preschool program in our area to help enrich their library as well as continuing to build our own.
Please join us in supporting and celebrating our budding avid readers and these often unsung arts.
“The big purpose of school is to ensure that every child is given full membership in the club of literacy.”