Sunday, November 13, 2011

Scholastic Books for New Readers


I am an addict.  Yes, an addict.  I am seriously addicted to books.   In fact, my husband has gotten so tired of seeing new books coming into this house that he bought me an e-reader for my last birthday!  How did this addiction begin?  I don't know?  What I do know is that I can't remember a time when I didn't want to read.  I had an older sister (19 months) who used to "play school" with me every day when she came home from school.  I used to remember waiting at the door for her to come home.  "Teach me, teach me!" I used to say to her. Out would come the Dick and Jane books  and I'd read that predictable text, "Run, Dick, run.  Run, Jane, run."  It wasn't the "interest factor" of the books that stimulated and motivated me, rather it was that I WAS READING!  By the time I entered first grade, I was a very accomplished reader.

Why do I tell you this?  I tell you because the first three years of my schooling were my most exciting, and the years I remember with warmth.  Yes, warmth.  I find myself often going back to those times when I am in need of some pleasant memories.  So what was so exciting about school for me?  Reading.  Reading.  Reading.  It wasn't about fancy lessons the teacher taught.  It was about the books I read.  I learned early on that reading could take you on journeys to places I could never go in real life.  I could "live" experiences I knew I would never have in my lifetime.  After reading, Henry and the Clubhouse by Beverly Cleary, I used to draw sketches of the tree clubhouse and the nooks and crannies I'd dream of having someday.  Reading Ribsy made me long for a dog.  In third grade, I HAD to read a biography and do a book report.  I fought that tooth and nail.  It was NOT something I wanted to do.  Reluctantly I chose a book about Amelia Earhart.  After that book, I wanted to BE Amelia Earhart (well, not the crash).  I loved that Amelia was so brave.  I loved that she did things "girls" didn't usually do - pilot planes.  That biography had such an impact on me that when I was pregnant with my fourth child, I read an adult biography about Amelia Earhart and was set to name my baby, if she was a girl, Amelia.  That is, until my mother told me that I couldn't because it would confuse all the relatives.  (My firstborn is named Emilee, and Amelia is a spanish derivation of the name Emilee.  And since my mother is spanish....Amelia turned into Olivia.  Ha ha!)

Where is all this leading?

Many of the children are "turning into readers" or are on the verge of "cracking the code".  Now is the time to motivate them with putting a lot of print in their hands.  I remember vividly how excited I used to get when my elementary teachers would pass out a Scholastic (and back then, Troll) Book Club flyers to order books.  Thank goodness my parents were believers in providing me with a lot of books, and consequently, I became a bookworm! 

I seriously believe that the excitement of receiving books from Scholastic made me want to read more.  Why?  Because Mom said she would only buy new books for me each month as long as I read the ones she purchased for me in the previous order.  Each time the books arrived, I felt like it was my birthday!  The waiting was tough, I won't lie to you!  But the waiting taught me to be patient, it gave me something exciting to look forward to, and it was sooo exciting when I walked into the classroom and saw the stacks of books the teacher had laid out from the orders!  Whoo hoo!  When she handed me my order, I had difficulty thinking of anything else.  I couldn't wait to go home and start reading! 

Now that the children are starting to read, I am now going to start the Scholastic Book ordering for my class.  Thankfully, parents can now place their orders online.  Click here for a letter with the directions for how to do this.  The due date for all orders is November 22nd, the last day before Thanksgiving Vacation.

Besides the Scholastic book orders, I am going to begin sending home some readers from my own classroom libraries and from the district's reading program.  I am going to ask each parent to complete a permission form for their child to participate in this lending program.  When your child has returned this form, I will begin the program with him/her.  These readers will be basic readers based on sight words. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.  It is my hope that I can help turn your child into an addict - a READING addict, that is.  I hope that through opening up books, I can open up the world to them.

(The pictures in this post are by one of my favorite artists, Mary Englebreit.)

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