Monday, December 22, 2014

Giving Time to Grow Readers

I gotta shake off the Grinch! I've been crabbier than usual this past week, because of

  • my lack of sleep due to the Christmas Novena
  • my messy library due to instrument storage for the Winter Concert and a poorly maintained Play Area
  • my impatience with loud audience members (partly due to my demophobia)
I noticed my attitude shifting from "half-full glass" to "half-empty glass" and I needed to take action to stop the slide of negativity. This post is part of my action plan. (Catching up on sleep during the holidays and making a list of all the things I am grateful for this past year are other components.)

In January 2015, my school will launch the official beginning of our Forest of Reading program. To prepare, the books have been made available to the staff to read in advance. This way, the adults will have already read the books and they can facilitate conversations with students on various titles and sign their passports. (A description of how we run our Forest of Reading program with the passports can be found in this article from Voice magazine.) I have heard that in other schools, teacher-librarians are floundering and trying in vain to beg other teachers to participate by reading at least one short book. At Agnes Macphail Public School, I am so very fortunate, because I have so many staff members, from the principal to teachers to educational assistants to early childhood educators, eagerly borrowing books at this insanely busy time of year to read. Some have been reading nominated titles since October, when the lists were announced by the Ontario Library Association and some keen student readers reserved copies from the public library. One classroom teacher in particular has surpassed my reading total by a large margin and continues to use her spare time to read. The wonderful thing is that teachers are reading books from many different lists, because it gives them the opportunities to chat with students in various grades. 

Way back in September, I took photos of our staff members for a "brains behind the books" bulletin board display. As a tribute to these wonderful school staff members and all they do to give time to grow readers and good young people (but while still maintaining their privacy), let me share here the pictures of our outstanding staff. If you are from my school or know some of the teachers, see if you can figure out who is who. 

 Merry Christmas, and special best wishes to our special education teacher, who began her maternity leave on the last calendar school day of 2014 (and her due date was yesterday, December 21).

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