When we read and write, we dream.
Our imaginations take us to places we remember,
places we wish we could travel to, and places we will never be.
When we read and write, we become superheroes, sports stars,
mermaids, angels, grown-ups and crazy creatures.
– P.S. 11 5th grade readers, writers, and artists
[Chelsea Public School 11–William T. Harris School in NYC]
In an effort to promote reading in a digital age, Marlinton Middle School librarian Sharla Sherman, of Buckeye, stumbled upon FACE Scholastic, a Bring Literacy Home initiative that embraces the mission of Family and Community Engagement [FACE] by providing students with access to books and encouraging literacy in the home.
As Sherman soon discovered, members of the FACE Scholastic program are given the opportunity to participate in an annual $1 book sale.
“When I learned about the sale, I immediately became a FACE member,” she explained. “It’s such a great deal and having access to books helps students encounter the power and pleasure of reading.
Sherman selected three books for the students to choose from. The first book in the Kidnapped trilogy, The Abduction was written by Gordon Korman and follows Aiden, a young boy who must team up with the FBI after his sister is kidnapped, on an edge-of-your-seat ride.
Allan Zullo’s Weird but True Tales was the second book available to the students. Rather than focusing on encounters from beyond the grave, Weird but True Tales is a collection of stories that features “incredible coincidences, strange twists of fate, unbelievable luck and wondrous happenings of serendipity.”
Gary Paulsen’s Mudshark is the third book. Mudshark follows the trials of 12-year-old boy detective Lyle Williams as he solves the mystery of the school’s missing erasers and investigates the parrot who has taken his place as the school’s go-to guy.
Of the three books, Kidnapped: The Abduction was the most popular choice amongst the students, with Weird but True Tales coming in second and Mudshark coming in third.
“FACE Scholastic says that the sole purpose of distributing these books is for children to use them in their homes,” Sherman detailed. “They want the books to go home with the children. It’s not like they’re [the books] being used for a class project or to be brought back to the library. They’re to go home. It’s like let’s build a home library – let’s have kids have books in their home.”
In addition to the books, the students were given the opportunity to take part in an optional art contest. Sherman explained that their poster must reflect the book and urged them to use their creativity, to be colorful and to be neat, as well as using correct spelling if they chose to include a phrase.
“By the time I look at these posters, I will have read all three of the books. I should to be able to look at the poster and recognize what book it came from,” she added. “It doesn’t have to be the whole book, though. It can just be a section, but they have to stay true to the book.”
The students will return their work to Sherman near the end of November, and each piece of art will enter students into a drawing.
“This art project is optional,” she reiterated, “but what I am going to do – the winner of the art work will get, at least, ten more dollars worth of free books that we’ll order off of Amazon.com. They can get get two cheaper books, or they’ll be able to order one that’s $9.99. They’ll figure out something they would like to have.”
In addition to the main drawing, Sherman will hold a drawing for those who choose not to create a poster.
“We want to create in them a love for books,” she added. “We want to create a love that drives them to want to read.”