By Sharman Yarnell
The third annual Marymount Academy Reads took place last week at the N.D.G. high school , with special guest author Sharon Draper.
Ms. Draper spoke about her two books Tears of a Tiger and Darkness Before Dawn. The first book is taught at Secondary 1 and II while the latter was part of the summer read for the entire school. Ms. Draper also held a writing workshop for students.
Marymount Academy Reads is a program designed to instill within the student body a love of reading, not only of books in the school curriculum,but also to encourage students to pick up a book at home and read just for the love of reading, learning and engaging their imaginations. The project is broken down into three key phases. To kick-off the initiative, all teachers and support staff proudly display on their office or classroom doors a photo of themselves reading a book of their choosing. Teachers are encouraged to read at least three books per school year and change their pictures to demonstrate their activity. Staff participation is paramount to the success of this initiative.
The second phase involves a well-known author coming to the school to speak about his or her career as a novelist and discuss their latest or most acclaimed book. Following this school-wide event, each grade reads the book promoted by the author during their visit – staff included! The school promotes the project with poster campaigns, radio spots and newsletter promotions flooding the school in the fall to gear-up Marymount’s student body and get the students interested in reading. Teachers attend department meetings and consult with the English Language Arts (ELA) faculty to ensure that across all subjects, a cross-curricular and multifaceted approach to learning occurs and benefits all students.
Marymount Academy Reads is specifically designed for the students to develop their communication and literacy skills – a key factor in helping to ensure the success and happiness of Marymount’s vast international student population. Finally, the third phase of the initiative includes a fun event dubbed the Bagels and Books breakfast. Here the students bring their own books to the library and meet with each other in impromptu ‘lit circles’ to discuss and learn from their peers, as well as read and enjoy a nice breakfast.