Students at A2 Charter School learned the lesson that good literature crosses barriers of gender, ethnicity, age, and experience. Fourth and fifth grade students partnered with community members and school district staff for literature discussions over coffee, juice, bagels and cookies at the school recently. Supervising teachers, Kathy Nelesen and Sandy Spatt coordinated the event to promote reading and community involvement at the charter school for independent, accelerated learners.
Students and adults chose from five titles of award winning children’s literature: Esperanza Rising
, A Long Way from Chicago
, Princess Academy
, and Maniac Magee
. Community volunteers with backgrounds in education, library science, medicine, business, and theology joined the students to share their life’s experiences with reading and to discuss the books. As the morning progressed, students and adults both reported gaining insights from one another that promoted a greater understanding of the literature and of life itself.
One student reported, “My thinking about reading changed because when I started to talk about the book, I began to like talking about it, and then it made me like the book even more. Talking about the book makes me a better reader and makes me want to read them more often.”
“Before the discussion, I thought of reading as just like listening to people talk, but now I see it as a TV in my brain,” commented another student.
“I learned several things about reading today,” said a fifth grade student, “It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you read, it matters how you understand the book; people read differently from one another, and when discussing a book with others, you can create new ideas from theirs.”
A fourth grade student added, “After the book discussions today, I felt like a grown-up who had been in a coffee house talking to my friends about books.”
Participating community members included Mrs. Pat Dinolfo; SASD Director of Student services, Mr. Seth Harvatine; Mr. & Mrs. Tom Hilke; Mr. David Kuck; Rev. & Mrs. Karl Nelson, Dr. Dean Pratt, Ms. Gail Showerman, and Jackson/ A2 principal, Mrs. Lynn Walters.
Mr. David Kuck discussed a book with A2 students.
Students work with Dr. Eileen Hilke and Mr. Tom Hilke.
Mrs Pat Dinolfo discussed books with A2 students.