March 2 was Dr. Seuss’s birthday, celebrated as Read Across America Day. In West Haven, Connecticut, planning for the event began in January when the Reading Department discussed how teachers were the model readers in every building. In a previous post, I added a sideshow of photos of classroom doors that teachers and staff designed to help students recognize the importance of reading and pay tribute to Dr. Seuss.
Many of the designs were remarkable. There were doors decorated as “Readboxes,” a playful twist on the movie-dispensing Redboxes. There were doors decorated with book choices displayed in Twitter tweets, or pie charts, or hot air balloons taking students “to the places they will go.” There was even a Type 40 TARDIS door where Dr. Who can meet Dr. Seuss!
Even more remarkable was the amount of time and effort that these West Haven educators put into the communal sharing of texts. Back in January, the hope of the Reading Department was that conversations about books would happen between students; between teachers and staff; and between teachers and students and staff. Too often in education, there is an expectation that reading a book will end in an assessment or grade. Too often, reading a book means analyzing theme, discussing character change, or identifying setting. Too often, there is no celebration in reading.
The hope of asking teachers to share their favorite titles on classroom doors was that these displays would spark new conversations about books that were far more informal, something akin to a student saying, “Hey, I like that book, too!”
Two other West Haven elementary schools participated in the Read Across America, and their classroom doors and bulletin boards will hopefully continue their school community’s conversations about books. At minimum, their door decorations have definitely sparked conversations about the impact of Pinterest on education!
Some of Mackrille Elementary School’s offerings are seen here:
The numerous weather delays and cancellations resulted in a delay of festivities for Forest Elementary School, but their enthusiasm for engaging in conversations about favorite books and reading is clearly evident:
These posts wrap up the 2015 West Haven edition of Read Across America where educators contributed time and effort to celebrate reading. Now, we can listen for students to say, “Hey, that’s my favorite book, too!”
A Seussian-thanks to all those who participated: