Thursday, September 15, 2016

AB Reads

Why Reading Matters
If you follow us on Twitter @OneABRHS, you may have seen that the high school celebrated International Literacy Day 2016 last Thursday, September 7th. Many of our staff members and students participated in a voluntary Advisory activity earlier in the week. They filled out sticky notes completing phrases related to books and reading, and we displayed them in the main entrance hallways on posters titled "AB Reads" and "Reading Matters."

Here is just a sample of our students' voices:

Reading matters because....
"I don't think about anything else while I'm reading."
"It makes me a better writer."
"When I am reading a book, I am transported to different places, and there is no limit to my imagination."
"It gives people a voice through writing."
"It helps me to keep an open mind. It allows me to be free."
"It expands my vocabulary and helps my English become stronger."
"I like escaping into fantastical worlds."
"It helps me understand someone else's world."

A book that matters to me....
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Eleanor & Park
The Phantom Tollbooth
Legend Trilogy
Skippy John Jones
Have Spacesuit, Will Travel
"The Harry Potter series because it sparked my love of reading."
"The Glass Castle because it was the first book I actually read in English class."

We currently have two cohorts of teachers advancing disciplinary literacy collaboration at the high school. Led by Associate Principal Beth Baker, they use an inquiry-based model that includes observing each other in the classroom, reading and learning together, and implementing strategies to increase our students' literacy skills at all levels and across disciplines.

I was recently quite moved when I read New York Times best-selling author of young adult and picture books Matt de la Peña's 2016 Newbury Medal acceptance speech. The way he broadens literacy to include "reading the world" reminded me of how even our reluctant students at the high school are "reading," whether we realize it or not. And it also reminded me that children of all ages need to see themselves reflected in what they read.

As I shared with my staff earlier this week, my 4 1/2 year old son's sticky note poster contribution for "books that matter" would no doubt be any of The Berenstain Bears books. Thank goodness for Stan and Jan, who helped to explain "stranger danger" in a way that was direct but not scary. As he told me in the car this past weekend, out of the blue: "Not all strangers are bad, Mommy. But some are. Like a barrel of apples. So you just have to be careful."

And there it was....a reminder of why reading matters.