One Amazing Summer, part two

Reading Circle

Every morning we sat in a circle and read the book of the week, a copy of which each child took home on Friday.

We had an amazing summer! At the Eaton Summer Reading Program, our secondary goal was to instill a love of reading. We didn’t know if we could, but if possible, we wanted to instill a love of reading in the participants of the program. We reasoned that if the children were no longer swayed by the very real stigma against reading, they would wish to read on their own. If the children were willing to choose reading on their own, even if they struggled, they would eventually succeed. If they began to love reading, they would make improvements on their own.

...One afternoon, some of the participants decided to host their own reading circle. (With larger pillows. And more pillows.)

…One afternoon, some of the participants decided to host their own reading circle. (With larger pillows. And more pillows.)

To achieve this goal, we surrounded the children with adults and teens as teachers and mentors who were all stronger readers, and who all valued reading. We surrounded the children with books and opportunities to read and write in their free time, beyond instruction. We had a prize box they could visit every time they finished a book, or won a reading-based game.

Secondary Goal Accomplished!

This was the day we knew we'd won...

This was the day we knew we’d won…

Toward the end of the program, the children clearly felt more comfortable with reading. They would sometimes choose to read in their free time, and when it was independent reading time, there was less fuss and resistance.

On the Friday afternoon of the penultimate week of the program, every child spontaneously pulled out their new book on the bus and started quietly reading. (The bus monitor was in awe, and took pictures as evidence.)

On the last day of the program, two different sets of parents approached our Director and reported that their children were spontaneously and voluntarily reading at home. The parents were astonished.

This is what a love of reading can do for a child…

Stay tuned for the next installment of One Amazing Summer!

 

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