Having reading role-model parents or a large book collection at home has more of an impact on kids’ reading frequency than does household income (Kids & Family Reading Report). Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see this in action at Peshine Avenue School in Newark, NJ. Together with My Very Own Library and the Foundation for Newark’s Future, Scholastic Book Fairs is reaching over 12,000 students in 23 Newark schools and giving them books to take home. Yesterday, students were able to pick 3 books to take home and read over their holiday break. Over the course of the school year, they will get a total of 10 books.
The school rolled out the blue carpet (literally!) for their Winter Wonderland book fair. Students and teachers were wearing blue, the auditorium was completely decorated, and they even had a snow machine! Authors Michael Northrop, Alexander London, Alice Ozma, and Sharon Dennis Wyeth visited the school and spoke about reading and writing. Sharon Dennis Wyeth shared the story about the first book she ever owned, which she got at a school book fair! She read the entire book right away!
Perhaps the most inspirational part of the event was watching the interaction between Principal Barnes and the students. She asked what they were going to do when they got their books. Kids enthusiastically answered with responses like “When I get my books, I’m going to read them over and over” and “I’m going to keep reading them all day.” But my favorite part was watching them all chant “I WILL succeed!” followed by telling the person next to them “You are awesome!” It was great to so much joy and positive energy around reading!