“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”

—J.K. Rowling

As educators, parents, professionals, we understand that there is a critical need for more reading. But, it’s often easy to lose sight of that. Growing up, my family didn’t have many books at home, but what we did have was the Westchester Library System. We spent a lot of time visiting the different area libraries, and I could take out 15 books at a time. In high school, I decided that I had far too much academic work to continue to read for pleasure, and so began my eight-year hiatus, where I only read assigned books. Once I became a teacher, I decided that the best way I could connect to my students was to read what they read. That first school break, I read the entire Twilight Series. That’s all I needed to connect back to reading and realize how valuable it is in my life. So what could I do to make sure that my students continued to love reading?

Amber Berry_reading

As a child, I could never get enough reading time.

Just as I experienced, often, students reading habits decline as they age. Many students develop negative feelings about reading, particularly boys and students who are struggling academically. And for students who love to read, there still seem to be things that get in the way. 

Berry_Blog_Reading_122820

To better understand how we could help our students here at St. Luke’s, we asked them about their reading habits and learned that a decline in reading was due to three main factors:

1. There are other things they would rather be doing (technology plays a significant role in this).

2. They aren’t sure how to pick out a book they will like.

3. There just isn’t enough time.

Reading time at St. Luke’s is not new, but with the help of our teachers and Middle School English Department Chair Kirsten Tobler, St. Luke’s has designed a community experience for Middle School students. We’ve carved out the time for reading, teach students the skills and habits to become great readers, and build reading and library time into students’ schedules.

Below, please see my State of the School presentation about building a community around books and growing a deeper love of reading in our students.

 

St. Luke’s is a private, secular (non-religious) independent school in New Canaan, CT serving grades 5-12. St. Luke’s mission: An exceptional education that inspires a deep love of learning, a strong moral compass, the commitment to serve, and the confidence to lead.  

 

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