Suffolk Public Schools launch innovative family reading program
Posted 7:35 p.m. on Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Few things are more magical for a child than the shared reading of a book. And for elementary school students who are just learning the complexities of reading, the experience of reading aloud can be life changing.
Reading aloud with children opens up new connections to their lives and informs how they view themselves and others,
On October 21, Suffolk Public Schools launched the All Suffolk Reads program to spark student interest and reading ability by getting all elementary families to read and discuss the same children’s book at the same time. The program is run in partnership with the non-profit organization All District Reads.
Rotary clubs in Suffolk have championed the project, raising funds, labeling the books and distributing them to students, according to local Rotarians.
Primary school teachers are responsible for ensuring that the youngest readers learn to read. Suffolk Public Schools English Language Arts Co-ordinator Lakeesha McCoy believes that learning to read should be integrated with a love of reading.
“Our partnership with All District Reads provides a bridge between these essential aspects of reading,” McCoy said.
As the first local school district to participate in the All District Reads model, Suffolk Public Schools launched the local brand, All Suffolk Reads, on Friday 21 October. Students and their families will read “Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire,” by Sundee T. Frazier together for several weeks.
“Parents should be on the lookout for books to come home on the 21st,” McCoy said, “as well as an informational pamphlet to support the read-aloud experience at home.” Some key features of the All Suffolk Reads initiative include:
- Students and families keep the ADR book with the expectation that families read a chapter of the book together each evening, according to the schedule provided in the family brochure.
- The next school day there will be quizzes and other activities related to the book chapter.
- The All Suffolk Reads autumn event will be followed by another All Suffolk Reads book reading in the spring.
Suffolk Superintendent Dr John B. Gordon III highlighted the district’s focus on improving reading achievement and supporting reading at home.
“We believe that getting children to read for fun is the missing piece of the puzzle. We are delighted to partner with All District Reads,” he said.
According to a press release, All District Reads was born out of a belief in the power of the read-aloud experience and its potential to bring families and community members together around a shared vision of literacy.
ADR Founder and Executive Director, Gary Anderson, has a lifelong passion for the read-aloud experience. This passion was the driving force in bringing together the many pieces to create a family reading culture in a school community.
“There’s an educational adage that goes, ‘What we teach kids to love and want will always trump what we teach them,'” said read-aloud advocate Jim Trelease, author of bestselling book “The Read Aloud Handbook”.