“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Mrs. Denise Cook and Mrs. Cathie Waters have been diligently preparing the double demountable to house our new Library. They have worked hard to present a library that is an extension of our engaging learning environments. It still needs the finishing touches, the elements that will enhance the environment and suggest that you enter into a different world when you arrive.
School libraries seem to have been reduced and appear to be on the chopping block with most new contemporary schools; however, I believe they are just as important as our resources in all of our Learning Centres.
The brief for our school is to develop a library that is welcoming and nurturing and that will support students and teachers learning. It must be a place where students want to visit and stir their interest, imaginations and curiosity. Places where they want to read and borrow books such as fairy tales, novels, play games, do research and enjoy the library space.
Our challenge is to keep the printed material just as relevant as the Internet search engines and combine the two to reach out to students to provide material that is relevant to their learning and their interests. I use my iPad constantly also my e-reader, laptop and computer, however there is still a joy I feel when I hold a printed book in my hand and physically turn the pages not just a swipe of my finger or a push of a button.
I would like to see the library accessible and not in isolation. It is important that students are able to take home books to read. We hope to be able to provide innovative access to resources all within a tight budget and keep abreast of new technologies that we can offer for our school library.
We are trialling opening the library during lunchtime. We have constraints due to teacher duty at this time. The library was open at lunchtime last Thursday and we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of students that came in and enjoyed their time in there, reading playing board games and listening to a story read by Mrs. Cook.
Students should be given every encouragement to read and to love reading. If you enjoy reading when you are young chances are that that love of reading continues into adulthood and lasts a lifetime. We need to model reading and show our students that we value the library and we are passionate about its purpose.
Children learn by what they see and hear so set a good example by reading too. Like most teachers, it goes without saying that I love giving books as gifts to children. A book can take you away to a different land, time and place meeting new characters along the way and you can keep coming back to it time and time again. One of my favourite sayings from my former Parish Priest and friend, Fr. Bill Bainbridge when he was alive, was that: ‘You can never be bored or lonely if you have a book.”
The gift of your time to read aloud to your child is so valuable as it is one of best ways to impart a love of reading in the young. There is much research to suggest that reading with children on a daily basis can make significant changes in the child’s literacy levels.
Parents are able to encourage a love of reading by:
- Reading aloud, no child is ever too old;
- Read books you love;
- Read books your child loves;
- Ask questions about what they are reading;
- Explain words they find hard to understand;
- Talk about the characters;
- Predict what is going to happen and see if you are right, and
- Discuss alternative endings.
I urge you to take the time to read with your children. Keep them curious and wanting to learn more. As Mem Fox said, “When I say to a parent, ‘read to a child’, I don’t mean it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate.”