Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Every student reads with the principals, every student donates a book

When Paulette Torpey became the librarian of Vienna Elementary in Vienna, VA about five years ago, she told the principal, John Carmichael, that many of the books in the library collection were old and worn. Paulette estimated it would take quite a few years with the budget from the county to get the collection in better shape.

John Carmichael

Paulette Torpey

This gave John had an idea.

Every other year, John and Eben Montaquila, the assistant principal, request funds from the PTA for Paulette to buy books—to be precise, the same number of books as students in the school. This school year it was around 500 books. 

Eben Montaquila

A couple of times a week throughout the school year, students (four at a time, starting with 6th grade and moving down the grade scale) are invited to read with both administrators—meaning the ones doing the reading are the students (except kindergarten; they are still read to).

Plus every student gets to select one of the newly purchased books and sign her/his name inside before it is added to the collection. Students are so excited to check out the books that they and their classmates have "donated" to the library.

This way, both the collection and the community actively grow at the same time.

Earmarking dollars to improve a library collection is, of course, wonderful. Kudos to John and Eben for going even further in their commitment to literacy. The fact that the heads of the school personally share books with kids on a weekly basis sends a powerful and consistent message about how important it is to read. 

And kudos to Paulette for helping inspire the idea (and for allowing me to share it here).

No comments: