If you had a vault, what would you keep in it? Your most precious treasures---jewelry, passports, family heirlooms? What about books? That’s what Ms. Yost puts in the vault in her 2nd grade classroom at Mockingbird Elementary School---Book Trust books. Superintendent Adler of Ralston Public Schools in Omaha, Nebraska was the special guest invited to open the vault on book delivery day last fall.
Dr. Adler shared:
I organized a countdown with the class 5—4—3—2—1 and BOOM! I opened the vault to the sound of high pitched screams. It was amazing! Then, one by one, I called each student to the front of the room, handed them their brand-new books, and shook each hand. There is no way for me to tell you how amazing I felt being a part of this celebration. These kids were excited to read and to have their own books. One of the first tasks that the students did when they received their books was to put their name in the covers. Many of these students had never had their own books, let alone brand new books of their choosing that they get to mark as their own and keep. The students cheered for one another.
Research demonstrates that reading motivation drives reading achievement. Reading motivation can be determined by assessing both a student’s self-concept as a reader and his or her value of reading—essentially, do students think they are good readers and do they think reading is important. Book Trust book delivery celebrations like the one described by Superintendent Adler perfectly describe how Book Trust helps students believe in themselves as readers and how Book Trust provides opportunities to elevate books and reading. In Ms. Yost’s class, students were excited—cheering and screaming when the books arrived. Students were proudly writing their names in their books. Enthusiasm for reading and pride in owning books leads students to believe in themselves as readers, a key component driving reading motivation. And, the fact that Superintendent Adler, the leader of all the schools, was coming to this second-grade classroom to open the vault that contained nothing but Book Trust books sent a message that reading and books are important. This Book Trust celebration was thoughtfully designed to teach students to value reading, the second driver of reading motivation.
Our Book Trust teachers are masters at celebrating reading in their classrooms. And you can be too. Whether you are a parent or a teacher, how might you use celebration to motivate readers at your school or in your home? Do you talk to your kids about their interests and help them find books based on their interests? Do you dress up in character costumes and act silly as you read books aloud? Do you simply cuddle in bed each night with your child and read together? Add your celebration ideas and traditions to the conversation – we’re collecting and sharing your stories on our Facebook page. Use #vaultstories to share yours and to see what other creative teachers and families have come up with.