While you can’t physically travel anywhere, Johnson City Schools educators are encouraging everyone looking for an escape to pull open the cover of a book and allow their imagination to take them away.
That is one lesson that Lake Ridge Elementary School media center specialist told a group of third-graders after video conferencing with them and reading a few chapters from The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe last week.
“Reading has the power to transport you places when you can’t go anywhere else,” Maria LaBarbera said. “We’ve been given this message that we can’t go anywhere, but that’s not totally true. Because you can pick up a book and go anywhere you want.”
Liberty Bell media center specialist Dr. Johnnie Sue Hawley agreed.
“You can pick-up a lot of other skills and knowledge,” she said, “I’ve never been to New Hampshire or Maine, but I feel like I know a lot about them and the area because I’ve read books where those states have been the setting.”
Johnson City Schools has resources on their at-home learning resources page, through academic packets and additional reading resources can be found from media center specialists on their school websites’ homepage.
Johnson City Schools Director of Accountability and School Improvement Dr. Robbie Anderson said that it is important that students read or are read to every day.
“Time set aside for daily reading is so important because reading increases a students’ vocabulary while expanding their knowledge base about a wide range of topics and interests,” Anderson said. “Besides being a great form of entertainment, reading can also increase a student’s concentration, promote imagination/creativity, and lead to a development of empathy as students learn to identify and better understand the emotions and the situations of the people and characters they are reading about in their stories and books.”
Anderson also suggested setting aside a dedicated time each day for a child to read together with a parent or with a sibling is a wonderful way to enjoy a special bond and create a lasting family memory.
Johnson City Schools Literacy Coach Tiffany Hogan suggested helping children find books about topics that they find interesting.
“Allow them to choose their own books, either in print or digital form, encourages them to read,” Hogan said. “Make time each day to read aloud to your children, listen to them read, and discuss what is read. Make reading a fun, enjoyable experience for everyone.”
Reading for students of all ability levels is important and Johnson City Literacy Coach Dr. LaDonna Boone said that everyone is banding together to make materials available during the school district’s closure.
“Through these challenging times, we have found that we are able to work collaboratively to teach and reach students in ways that we once thought were impossible or impractical,” Boone said. “With new and exciting technological tools being presented at this time, both teachers and students continue to learn and grow.”
Many media center specialists and schools are taking time to use video conferencing to do read-a-longs with students. Johnson City Schools, along with Elizabethton Schools, also helped WJHL’s Josh Smith collect tools to host his “Adventure School”, which he hosts each weekday morning on Facebook at 9 a.m.
“We have provided him with read-a-loud books (with publisher permissions) and strategies for vocabulary instruction, reading tips for parents, and other literacy materials,” Johnson City Schools Literacy Coach Dr. JoDee Dotson said. “Josh wants to provide this service to help students and parents begin their school day at home and wants to spread the importance of reading in our community. We appreciate and value the opportunity to be able to partner with him to promote the love of reading.”
For more information on reading and other resources during Johnson City Schools’ closure, please visit www.jcschools.org.