At this time of year, hallways are filled with a plethora of sounds: voices chattering, heels and soles tapping or dancing against the linoleum floor, and the unique clamoring of lockers opening and shutting to signify the start of each new day as students make their way to art or music or lunch or a Friday afternoon All-School. And while many in our community who celebrate the holidays are busy hanging ornaments or decorating their front yards, teachers are busy hanging pictures of students learning in action and decorating walls and stairwells with the latest artifacts from a recent project.

Despite the thriving, bustling, and ever-changing scenery throughout the school, one activity remains the same: reading. In our school community, although reading is taking place anywhere at any given time throughout the day, it looks different for each student. Reading is assigned and accepted in various ways. You may walk in and notice students reading in small groups, in pairs, or independently. They may be lying across a couch as they read, or under a table, in a chair, or on a window sill. You may find students reading inside in the classroom, in the hallway, in every available nook and sometimes, even on the playground. Reading happens all times of the day: in the morning, in the afternoon, and believe it or not, reading even takes place in the evenings. It is acceptable, expected, and even encouraged that students access reading in various ways: reading aloud, reading along, popcorn reading, or paired with an audiobook. Among the options, that to many, seem like a luxury, are just a part of our culture. Something that remains constant at City Neighbors is the commitment to fostering the love of literacy and learning through literacy.

In fostering this love of learning through literacy, teachers take the time to identify quality books that highlight the cultures of our students and also expose them to the cultures of others. Overall, reading has a way of bringing families and friends together in ways that celebrations often do. And let’s face it, anytime a great book is discovered, whether it is written by a classic or modern author, it’s worth celebrating! With quality, interesting books and just a snippet of time, a culture of reading can be cultivated and sustained. We encourage you to carry over the love of literacy at home over the break and hope that it will be sustained for weeks, months, and years to come.

Our teachers and students have suggested a few books with quality writing and even better messages for you to enjoy at home, in the car, or at the laundromat, anytime, anywhere, and anyhow.

Kindergarten – Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

1st Grade – Knuffle Bunny and Elephant and Piggie Series

2nd Grade – Poppleton and Frog and Toad

3rd Grade – Wild Robot

4th Grade – Zoe in Wonderland

5th Grade – Smile and The Amulet

6th Grade – The First Rule of Punk

7th Grade – Brown Girl Dreaming

8th Grade – The Hate U Give and Long Way Down

 In addition to great books, there are exceptional websites that can guide you in fostering a culture of literacy in your home and give tips to support reading:

Brightly – Helping Parents Grow Lifelong Readers

Understood – A Site to Guide Parents with Reading Support

Have a wonderful break, filled with love, memories, and lots of reading–audiobooks included!

~Kayisha Edwards, Special Educator, City Neighbors Charter School~