As winter begins to make its February presence known, many say that a cold day is a good day for a good book. However, according to Denison ISD librarians, every day is a good day for a good book. Beginning February 6, all DISD campuses will begin their “For the Love of Reading” program that will continue through February 17.
“The goal of “For the Love of Reading” is to create excitement about reading. We want students to read all year long, but we feel it is important to create some extra excitement every once in a while to convince those students that don’t already love to read, that it really is a lot of fun,” said Denison ISD Library Coordinator Kari Uber.
Each campus will set a goal of minutes to read as a school. At the same time, students will also set their own personal goals. To give the program participants a measure of accountability, students will complete a reading log of minutes they spend reading each day and parents and guardians will verify each day’s reading by initialing each reading session. For younger students, being read to is acceptable as well which will help families enjoy the program together.
“Our students practice reading all year long. It is important to celebrate their successes. I like to compare it to an athlete. They practice all year long and when they win a game there is a celebration for their accomplishments,” Uber said.
The general idea of the “For the Love of Reading” challenge is the same thru the district, but individual campus librarians choose the specifics of what they want for their campus. To celebrate goals, students who read a minimum of 120 minutes will be invited to attend a special event. Some campuses have planned parties for those students that meet the minimum reading requirement, some are even having a special lunch with their librarian.
One idea that has been implemented is that special bookmarks will be placed in random books throughout each school’s library. Each campus librarian will customize the bookmarks for their campus. Much like Willie Wonka and the Golden Ticket, if a student finds a bookmark hidden in the book they check out, they can bring it to their librarian and redeem it. At Scott Middle School, the bookmarks may be redeemed for a free pass to their Makerspace on Fridays. Makerspace is a creative center on campus that allows students the freedom to express their creativity through various mediums. The spots fill up fast on Fridays, so a free pass will be a coveted prize for those students.
“Our librarians work all year long teaching students about the different genres available to them and how to choose a book that most fits their needs, personality and where they are academically. This happens through lessons and lots of conversations while students are looking thru the books. Our ultimate goal is that all students fall in love with reading and this continues on into adulthood,” Uber said.
A group of engaged Houston Elementary students listen intently as second grade teacher Lisa Cobble reads aloud during class. “Our goal at Houston is to introduce students to new books from a variety of genres,” Cobble said.
Readers of all ages on Denison ISD campuses will participate in the February “For the Love of Reading” challenge.
During the February “For the Love of Reading” challenge, students will have the opportunity to earn points for the amount of time they spend reading, both in school and at home. Those points may be redeemed for special prizes at each campus.
Mayes Elementary students gather in the library for some quiet reading time. According to author Donalyn Miller, “Children need time to read at school and home and we must dedicate time in our schedules for it. To develop reading confidence and competence, children must read widely and in volume. This takes time. Lots of it.”