Grab a new book or an old favorite and get ready to read! The Cherry Creek School District will celebrate the joy of reading during the first-ever Cherry Creek Reads Week, coming up March 11-15.
Across the district, students, parents, teachers, staff, friends and family members will try to read for 66 minutes or more during Cherry Creek Reads Week. That represents one minute for every Cherry Creek school. The goal is simple: to create a community of readers and foster a lifelong love of reading.
“Our hope is that the district community sees this initiative as a clear message that reading for pleasure is an important and valued skill in Cherry Creek Schools, not just for students, but for staff and family members as well,” said Karen Connors, teacher librarian at High Plains Elementary. She is spearheading the event with Kim Casali, teacher librarian at Buffalo Trail Elementary. “There’s no better way to unite all levels – preschool through twelfth grade – than through the power of reading together,” Connors said.
In fact, the theme for the week is “Read Together, Wonder Together,” and is based on the book Out of Wonder, Poems about Poets by Kwame Alexander, a Newberry Award-winning author. He and fellow poets Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth share original poems that pay tribute to twenty famous poets, including Emily Dickinson, Billy Collins and Terrance Hayes.
“We want the showcase of reading a common book to unite the entire CCSD community around a theme,” said Casali, who added that teachers and staff members will post signs in their classrooms and offices, listing a book they just finished and another they’re currently reading. “We hope this will spark diverse discussions around what everyone is reading as a way to encourage greater learning and communication within our schools, families and communities,” she said.
For example, Casali is reading Grit, a non-fiction book by Angela Duckworth, and the children’s novel Front Desk, by Kelly Yang. Her students at Buffalo Trail are reading everything from the perennial favorite, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, to Baseball Great, a sports-centered thriller and New York Times best-seller by Tim Green.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is just one of three books Cheryl Fullmer, the principal at Trails West Elementary, is reading. Horizon Middle School Principal Ron Garcia y Ortiz, who reads a lot of non-fiction, just finished Fostering Resilient Learners by Kristen Souers and is looking forward to How to Fly a Horse by Kevin Ashton. Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Perry recently read Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming.
During Cherry Creek Reads Week, CCSD schools may hold special events, from guest readers to Skype sessions with noted authors and illustrators to family literacy nights. Parents are encouraged to read with their children after school and have fun dinner table-discussions about the books each family member is reading.