Read, read, READ, read, READ, read, read, read, READ, read!
At Bixby, reading is encouraged and celebrated at every opportunity—through comfortable reading nooks and lofts, class read-a-thons, author visits and book fairs, a school-wide event for Read Across America, and an annual field trip for young librarians to the Boulder Bookstore and Boulder Public Library. Individualized interests, tailored to varied skill levels, are fostered through choice reading time and independent projects. Additionally, group readings are facilitated to further their skills and recognition of the key components of stories and to foster deeper connections and critical thinking, including inference.
Mixed second and third grade classes recently completed a book contract, whereby each student independently read a different chapter book, wrote a “sandwich” book report, and created a diorama of an important scene in the book. A sense of joy and pride in their work was evident as they presented their work to their classmates and reflected on this project.
Now, all second and third graders are in the midst of making 1,000 origami peace cranes in response to reading Sadako or Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Their enthusiasm and commitment are contagious as they honor the memory of a girl, whose life has become a symbol for peace. The peace cranes will be mailed to Hiroshima, Japan, for placement at her memorial in the Peace Park.
The first graders’ reading skills have blossomed since the beginning of the year. They enjoy reading a variety of books and playing word games as a group, with a partner, or on an individual basis. Our study on slavery and Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad is underway in conjunction with their writing and music classes. This study develops their listening comprehension, fund of knowledge, and critical thinking skills.
At Bixby, the emphasis is placed on “learning to read” up through third grade, giving students the time needed to comfortably acquire strong foundational skills and develop a love of reading. The focus then shifts to “reading to learn” in our mixed fourth and fifth grade classes.