Why the change? Whether reading word problems or the history of Alexander the Great or the latest epidemic in our health news, reading impacts everyone--every day. We asked ourselves how we could better prepare our students for a world where critical thinking skills are more important than ever. Reading is the common thread that runs through each and every subject area. Improving our students’ reading ability impacts their comprehension and written communication. With that in mind, the answer was easy--get them reading!
What does it look like for Chardon Middle School? Every student is given 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to READ whatever they want. So much of the reading our students are required to do is decided by their teachers. To foster a love of reading, students need to self-select books that they want to read based on what they are interested in. Teachers model the importance of reading by joining them and can make suggestions of books related to their content areas. This is also a great time for us to connect with students--taking suggestions from students is a great shared experience. Many of our staff members have accepted a 40-book challenge--the challenge to read 40 books this school year. Many of our students have accepted it, as well, and are well on their way to meeting it!
We were thrilled that two local authors, Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger, were able to meet with all of our students to share their love of language and help us kick off our RED initiative. In January, we will be welcoming another local author, Shelley Pearsall, who wrote All of the Above, the book our eighth graders read for their summer reading. Finally, in April, a third young adult novelist, Mindy McGinnis, will share her expertise with our students as she taps into the popular genre of dystopian fiction.
We welcome you to take the 40-book challenge with your child! If you’re interested in learning more about why we think reading is so important that we’ve redesigned our school day to ensure it happens for our students, start with The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.