According to the International Reading Association, children and adolescents in the 21st century will read and write more than at any other time in human history. They will need advanced levels of literacy to perform their jobs, run their households, act as citizens, and conduct their personal lives. They will need literacy to cope with the flood of information they will find everywhere they turn. They will need literacy to feed their imaginations so they can create the world of the future (Moore et al., 1999, p.3). Importantly, then, we at Rowntree Montessori Schools view ourselves as active participants in a larger community that views reading, and thus literacy development, as a significant and enjoyable activity.
On October 19th, 20th and 21st, we hosted Scholastic – a global book publishing company known for publishing leading education materials for schools, teachers, and parents – in our 2015/16 Book Fair. The purpose of the Book Fair was threefold: to provide students with access to high quality books, to promote and celebrate a love of reading and, by extension, to promote literacy.
Increasingly, education research emphasises the importance of pleasure reading for cognitive development, such as literacy attainment. According to Stephen Krashen, who is a linguist, educational researcher and a major proponent of the value of reading for pleasure, “when children read for pleasure, when they get “hooked on books”, they acquire involuntarily and without conscious effort, nearly all of the so-called “language skills” many people are so concerned about: they will become adequate readers, acquire a large vocabulary, develop the ability to understand and use complex grammatical constructions, develop a good writing style, and become good spellers. Thus, children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers (Krashen 1993, p. 85).
With this goal in mind, then, we are excited to announce that this year’s book fair was once again an absolute success. Each class was scheduled a particular time to visit the Book Fair, at which time they perused the shelves and completed a “wish list”. Throughout the following three days, students returned to the Fair with their parents and friends to purchase items from their lists.
All in all, the Scholastic Book Fair has helped Rowntree blossom with new and exciting adventures in reading and literacy development. This event, in conjunction with a number of other literacy strategies throughout the year, such as Reader’s Express, continues to spark the minds of Rowntree students for the year ahead.
Krashen, S. (1993).The Power of Reading.Englewood, Col,: Libraries Unlimited, Inc.
Moore, D.W., Bean T.W., Birdyshaw, D. &Rycik, J. (1999).Adolescent literacy: A position statement. International Reading Association
We look forward to seeing you and sharing with you the private school community of which we are so proud!