Last spring, tucked into the intersection of the elementary school hallways, a magical new place was waiting for readers. A convenient, shared reading corner was open to everyone from our smallest students to adult staff!
The idea came from an online find by Mrs. Stacie Morse, but it became real over spring recess through great effort by many in the community, guided by the thoughtful direction of Mrs. Wendy Derochie-Roodenburg. The time and talents of many got it started: from identifying free chairs, to picking them up, to hours spent taking off the old varnish, to painting fresh designs, to designing the corner arrangement, to finding functional items to add, to putting it altogether. It takes a village to do wonderful things but not because it's too hard -- it's because many have the vision and heart for giving.
Not only did the spot serve a practical purpose, but it was as visually rich as a beautifully illustrated picture book. There were two brightly painted chairs, a step stool, book shelf, plant, artwork on the walls, and a cozy rug, all donated and made beautiful by volunteers.
“You can’t help but smile when you see it,” said Mrs. Roodenburg. “It’s a special place.”
The reading nook was extra special when it supported young readers. To encourage that, Mrs. Davis placed a basket filled with book bags outside her classroom, and invited staff to stop in any time to choose a book and be read to by a Kindergarten student.
Mrs. Davis explained: “We are learning to read. We might get stuck. Please don’t tell us the word. We have strategies to help us figure it out. We just need time. We are working on listening to ourselves to make sure what we are reading makes sense. If we make a mistake, we will reread and fix our mistake. If we just keep going, please stop us and ask if it made sense.”
At a reading time with Mr. Foor-Pessin, this veteran high school English teacher listened closely to a young student-reader, noticed the effective work he was doing to understand a tricky word, and praised him for his skill and effort. It was hard to tell who enjoyed the exchange most, Eli or Mr. Foor-Pessin.
You can ask the adults who enjoyed being read to: these students are growing into excellent readers, and time in the whimsical, magical reading corner made the process extra special.
Many thanks go out to everyone who had a hand in this project, with an extra special thanks to Mrs. Roodenburg who put it all together.
We hope it returns in the fall! In the meantime, where is your favorite place to read?