This year at P.S. 139 has truly been the “year of the book,” with an investment of almost $100,000 in our classroom libraries! Our kindergarteners got to know “star books” like Corduroy and The Three Billy Goats Gruff by heart. First graders read along in unison as their teachers held Joy Cowley’s entertaining Mrs. Wishy Washy big books in their laps. Second graders got to know characters like James Howe’s Pinky and Rex like friends, while Cam Jansen and Capital Mysteries turned our third graders into detectives. Historical fiction transported our fourth graders to another place and time, and R.J. Palacio’s Wonder deepened our fifth graders’ understandings of difference and empathy. And, with the support of the Parents Association, we purchased beautiful baskets for our classroom libraries to make our collections even more welcoming.
Our last triumph during this “year of the book” is perhaps the most special. P.S. 139 and the Parents Association have provided books for all students in grades 2 and 3, as well as readers reading below level in grade 4 to bring home over the summer–for free!
Taking kids “book shopping” to choose their summer reading was amazing. Some students were literally jumping up and down, while others were hugging. One said “There are so many good books–I don’t know what to choose.” A second grade boy said, “My mom will be so glad you chose me. This is a great honor.” While walking back to a classroom, a third grader asked, “Are we doing this next year, too?”
Students also knew the reason behind summer reading because their teachers had shared a consistent lesson with them in class. It was beautiful to hear children say things like- it’s important because it keeps your brain strong. And: you should read because it makes you smarter. While these may seem like simple statements, these words show that children understand that intelligence is not fixed– that we aren’t smart or not smart– that we can work to get smarter and smarter.
It is so important for students to continue reading over the summer–whether they are reading on their own or being read to by an older friend or family member. If children don’t read over the summer, they can actually experience what we call the “Summer Slide”—a drop in reading achievement. Over a period of several summers, summer reading slide can add up to years of lost progress.
The good news is that you can prevent summer reading slide–and it’s simple! Students who read six books over the summer are less likely to experience a drop in their reading. So please make sure that your child reads over the summer.
Lizzie Hetzer, Literacy Coach & the Summer Reading Team
A special thanks to:
-PA members Liz, Susanna, Alexandra, Julie, who organized logistics and campaigned for additional funding!
-Teachers Zach Mack and Josephine Sinagra for helping to organize books.
-Our principal Mary McDonald who provided money for books.
-Teachers Alyna Jacobs and Elena Megalos who helped to take small groups of children to shop for books in room 117- and Alyna for driving out to Long Island to do some shopping!
-Our school aide, Rosa, for helping organize materials.
-Our custodial staff who helped us transport the books.