Thursday, April 15, 2010

A novel idea for Highland students

April 15, 2010
Cranston Herald
All text and photos by Jen Cowart

For many elementary schools across Cranston, Reading Week often coincides with a school Book Fair. This year, Edgewood Highland Elementary School decided to try something different: a book swap.

“Every student was asked to bring in a gently used book for the swap,” said reading consultant Patricia Almy. “One parent volunteer also went to William Hall Library and got some of their books that were not in circulation anymore.”

All of the books were arranged on tables in the library, separated by reading levels of easy, medium and hard. One at a time, classrooms came down to peruse the tables of books, choosing a book to take home with them that day.

The students arrived in their beachwear, coinciding with the Reading Week theme of “Catch the Waves of Literacy.” The library was converted into a tropical paradise with beach umbrellas, towels and chairs set up around the room, as well as underwater scenes being shown on the large screens.

Soft ocean music could be heard as the students browsed. Reading consultants were on hand throughout the day to help the students narrow down their choices and choose the best book for them. The consultants were responsible for the event, including not only Almy but Jennifer Giuliano and Jennifer Mooney as well.

“The students are encouraged to then exchange these books amongst their friends in a few weeks,” said Almy, explaining that by doing this, the book swap didn’t have to end on Friday and students could keep it going on their own. As an added bonus, every child went home with a bag of activities and information for families, created by Warwick high school senior, Jordan Doughty, who used the book swap as her senior project.

Doughty spent many hours researching the information included in the bags, and then assembled them as well. Her senior project mentor is a staff member at Edgewood Highland.

“She included a lot of great resources,” Almy said. “There was information about how to read with your child, where to find books as well as the hours and locations of all the libraries.”

Each child also received a bookmark, created by a student in the school. In addition to the book swap, Edgewood Highland students were treated to guest readers throughout the week, some from the Cranston community and some from different grade level teachers throughout the school.

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