This school year, I participated in a "180 Book-A-Day Challenge." My goal was to read one children's book for each day students were in school. As I read the books, I displayed my "Principal's Picks of the Week" in the main hall in our display case and posted images of all of the books I had read. I also promoted the books I had read the previous week on the Monday morning announcements. Students were able to turn in book recommendations to me, and I selected one student each week to appear on the announcements with me to promote the book he or she had recommended.
Those of you who have visited my blog know that my goal this school year was to become the lead reader at Mayflower Mill. This challenge allowed me to successfully meet that goal. It also caused reading to become contagious in our building. Not only were students reading like crazy, they were also recommending books to me. As I would pass a student in the hall, he or she would say, "Hey, Ms. Higgins, have you read....?" My staff also caught the reading bug and began to ask me for recommendations and began borrowing books from me. I heard more teachers talking about what they were reading to their students and what they were reading for their personal enjoyment. Teachers began posting what their class was currently reading on their doors for passersby to view. Books and the culture of reading became visible and palpable entities that began to define us.
I never thought something as simple as this challenge and the intentional promotion of reading would do so much to foster a culture of reading in our building. However, I am proud to say that Mayflower Mill is now a community of readers. What could be more rewarding than that?
Principals and teachers, how have you promoted reading in your building? I'd love to get some new ideas for next year!