Escape with a book


Searching for a book of choice, Ryan Atwood (11) scours the library, Sept. 9.

Reading: a touchy topic in the area of education. With the strict classroom curricula, recreational reading became a burden to students instead of an escape and an adventure, as it was initially meant to be. To mend the disinterest in reading, teachers instituted a new program: Book Love.

Language Arts and Special School District teachers and Mrs. Janie Pickett, head librarian gathered together to read and discuss “Book Love” by Penny Kittle, an English teacher and literary coach based in New Hampshire. The book addresses reading in the classroom and helps teachers tailor their curricula to help students embrace reading literature.

“’Book Love’ taught me a lot; it had topics from not just a teacher’s standpoint,Ms. Laura Medrala, language arts teacher, said. “It reminded me that you [the teacher] don’t have to control what the students read and how often. You can have expectations without being controlling. It reminded me just how important it is to read.”

Redesigned curricula combine books of choice with the traditional literature taught in Language Arts classes. Reading time will be incorporated into weekly Language Arts schedules. Whether personal-choice books are about wizards, an unprecedented world war or sparkling vampires, students are happy to have options.

“I like to read but most of the time I don’t like the books we are given,” Marissa Albanello (12) said. “I’m happy to have some choices.”

Students will be able to read more than just “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “The Catcher in the Rye” or “The Odyssey,” which will hopefully engage more students in literature as a whole.

By giving time in class to read, teachers hope students will continue reading outside school.

“I think of reading like exercise,” Ms. Medrala said. “You can’t just go on the football field without practicing. You can’t improve without practice. It’s the same with reading.”

The number of high school seniors who read at or above “Proficient” has been declining since 1992, as reported by, a reading-geared website, and is according to the NAEP reading test.

With this rapid and frightening decline, implementing recreational reading becomes more prevalent.

“I’m excited to read my own books because I’ve never been a big reader,” Hayden Seidel (10) said. 

The faculty hope this change follows students outside of the white walls of high school.

“If they come back in ten years and visit, I want to ask them what book they’ve read recently and for them to have an answer,” Mr. Mark Mosley, Language Arts teacher, said. “I want them to be life-long readers.”

Instead of barely skimming through pages just to get through for an upcoming test, teachers encourage students to choose books they have an interest in.

A free vacation awaits any student inside the library; there’s a journey between book covers, and now students will finally have the chance to uncover the adventure.