A Culture of Reading and the Book Club!

photo credit: Melinda Smith

One of my favorite things about Villa di Maria is our commitment to nurturing a culture of reading. Language lessons, reading corners, libraries and read-alouds are in every classroom. Children are welcome to read alone, in groups or to each other. For those who struggle to find ease with reading, our reading specialist, Melissa Fox, is on hand to help and encourage. At VdM, children read not only “for school” but for the story—for entertainment, for relaxation, just for the love of reading.

photo credit: Melinda Smith
photo credit: Melinda Smith

And by the time our students reach Upper Elementary, they are introduced to a new way to revel in reading—the Book Club! Facilitated by Ms. Colleen, the Upper Elementary Book Club is a monthly deep-dive into curated selections of books in a range of genres. Students work at school and at home to complete the books by a deadline, along with complementary work, including story maps and reflective summaries, to help them organize their thoughts and plan for discussion. Then they gather to discuss themes, settings, characters, plot lines and literary devices (and share delicious snacks!).

Empathy, diversity of perspective, language skills, time management, positive attitudes about reading, vocabulary, improved writing, new knowledge, reflection, critical thinking, self-evaluation… my ode to the benefits of the book club could go on and on. I’ll sum it up with a quote from a fifth-year Upper Elementary student: “I think Book Club is important because other schools have it and because it is good to get used to due dates, homework and reading a lot of books. Also to expand your knowledge and English. I like reading the books. I think the papers are ok. And it helps you prepare for life.”

I think Book Club is important because other schools have it and because it is good to get used to due dates, homework and reading a lot of books. Also to expand your knowledge and English. I like reading the books. I think the papers are ok. And it helps you prepare for life.Fifth-year Upper Elementary student

This month, UE students are reading books by Native American authors. The stories describe events in the history of North America from the perspectives of Native American children. We’ll take a look at those books, as well as a few other resources for finding Native American voices, tomorrow. Stay tuned!