It’s a Friday afternoon in the KCS Library, shortly after the Silver Birch program has begun. There are swarms of children racing to the library after school to sign out books…..Silver Birch books! Some of these students already have a book checked out for the weekend, but are worried that they may finish it early and not have anything else to read the rest of the weekend. “Could I borrow a second book, just in case?” How can I say no to such enthusiasm for reading?
The OLA’s Forest of Reading® Programs have been a tradition at KCS for over ten years. Passports and reflection sheets, sharing thoughts and opinions through blogging, author visits, house competitions, and impromptu discussions in the hallway and classrooms are all part of the Blue Spruce, Silver Birch and Red Maple programs. And like all traditions, enthusiasm for the program is passed from sibling to sibling. I am often asked, the first week of school, when will it start this year?
I just love the BookBuzz around the whole school! Some things I’ve overheard:
- “Did you like Space Raiders?”
- “I liked The Swallow: A Ghost Story better than I thought I would!”
- “Are there any more books by David Skuy?”
- “My goal was 10 books last year, but this year I’m going to try to finish all 20!”
- “Clover’s Luck is here! I can’t wait to read it!”
- “I’ve read all the books! What else can I read?”
Not surprisingly, this tradition is my favourite time of the year. There is an increased enthusiasm for reading, and even the most reluctant of readers can be found sitting on a beanbag chair in the library with a book in their hands. At KCS, we are continuing to grow our culture of students who read for the love of it. And there are many additional benefits. As People for Education published in a report, “Students with a more positive attitude towards reading tend to be more successful in all subjects”. (Reading for Joy, 2011.)
The Forest of Reading Program – It’s the Super Bowl of Reading!