A Blizzard Of Books!!!

`Books from the Heart’ is a beloved tradition at Chickering School. It is an activity when kids choose books to honor special teachers, which become a part of the school library collection. Some kids, from our class, shared why they like ‘’Books from the Heart’’. Since this program is a PTO [Parent Teacher Organization] sponsored activity, we also asked parents, who volunteered for this activity, why they do it. We hope you love our report on this favorite, ‘’Books from the Heart’’ [BFTH] program.

We were curious to know why students in our class participated in ‘Books from the Heart’, so we chatted with several students in our class. Most of them liked giving back to their teachers because their teachers give so much to them. One student relayed, “Well, it’s doing something nice and when I do something nice it feels all warm inside. You feel really good because you did a good thing … I did it for our gym teacher, Mr. Fraser, because, I’m pretty sure he never gets a Book from the Heart. And it’s from the heart, so when you do something nice then it feels very good to be doing something nice.”

Mrs. Barnes was one of the three co-chairs of this annual event, she explained why she volunteered for this event,

“I love … seeing [my] son, and his friends and all of the other wonderful kids, warms my heart. I also love children’s books and love the idea that this event helps grow our amazing library!”

Another co-chair, Mrs. Glick, remarked,

“I love being a part of the ‘Books from the Heart’ event because the event helps to get hundreds of new books into the students hands within a couple of weeks. Mrs. Chase works hard selecting these books …. Reading is so cool because it can be informative and entertaining. Our well stocked library is one of the things that makes Chickering a great school and this event supports the whole community. It’s also really fun to be in the school watching everyone looking through the books and choosing just the right one to dedicate to a special person at the school. I love that the books get to the students who donated them in time for Read Your Heart Out Day *. It’s a great conclusion to the event and very rewarding to see the students excitement about the new books.”

Finally, Ms. Godfrey Schutte shared,

“I have volunteered for this event for the past several years for many reasons. Most importantly, the ‘Books from the Heart’ program involves students and their parents in stocking our library with a wonderful selection of books. I love to read and hope my children, …, grow to have a lifelong love of books too. Their older brother, …, is in middle school now and still talks about the library and Mrs. Chase. [He] reads braille because he is visually impaired and Mrs. Chase always made sure there was a selection of braille books at the school for him. And, now, [our daughter] can take out the braille books for him to read to her. Isn’t that cool? The library at Chickering and all that it has to offer helps make my children excited about books so I love being part of a program that helps Mrs. Chase keep the inventory fresh with lots of books for the students to choose. I also like having the opportunity to be in the school for a few days, with students and teachers walking through the lobby and chatting with them, as they select their books and think about whom they will dedicate it [to]. It’s fun to get to know some of the kids and teachers a bit and to be a part of the Chickering community!”

Book plate with large red heart used to note who the book is donated to and from.In every book chosen for a special person is a label with a heart. This shows who it was dedicated to, and who it was from. Once these books are placed into the library people can easily identify a ‘Book from the Heart’ book.

Everyone in Chickering School loves purchasing books for the one or two special teachers who have taught them. ‘Books from the Heart’ has been running for more than 16 years! PTO shows their appreciation for the school library by bringing this program back every year. Each kid in Chickering will be able to see their books, which they have dedicated to the teachers, for the school library, for many years to come. Clearly you can see ‘Books from the Heart’ is loved by everyone.

* Read Your Heart Out Day [RYHOD] is always the Friday before February vacation. Everyone in the whole school wears PJ’s and bring their favorite books and reads for almost the whole day. Reading is the highlight of RYHOD and this is a great opportunity to catch up on books.

Reported by Andrew, Andy, and Alia

Favorite Day Ever!

Two boys reading together in an elementary school.Do you love to read? Then you’ll love our Read Your Heart Out Day [RYHOD]. Students prepare for RYHOD by gathering their stuffed animals, books, pj’s, blanket and a pillow. Then they put their gear in his or her backpack or another bag. You can pack or wear your pj’s and slippers. It’s winter, so we pack our slippers.

At school, in your classroom you claim your spot. That’s where you put all your items. You don’t stay there all day, but that is where you read your books or read with friends. Some of the other classrooms move furniture to make room for tents or canopies where students can read, play games and have fun. Some classrooms have book buddies, so they meet in another classroom and read to each other. We also have parents or other adults who come in and read to us or we read to them.

We wondered what the teachers thought about RYHOD. So we talked with Ms Wood, Guest reader sharing a book with a classroom of students.a third grade teacher, Mrs. Atkinson, a fourth grade teacher and Mr.Wadness, a fifth grade teacher. We were curious to know if they liked RYHOD and they all like this special day. Ms Wood shared, she likes that we celebrate reading as a school community, and one of her students claims “reading makes your brain grow bigger”. She also thinks it’s a day to keep our brains healthy and active. Mr. Wadness said that he likes it when parents come in and read. All like that students can hang out with friends and read and share good stories.

All the teachers explained some activities their students do on this day. Students read independently, buddies read with a younger class, and partner read. Some other activities are sharing their favorite books with classmates, creating crafts which use words and having guests/parents come in and read aloud. Their favorite activities are having people read aloud and sharing books with younger students in the school.

There are a lot of different genre and we wondered if they had a favorite. Mrs. Atkinson and Mr. Wadness both love fantasy, Mr. Wadness especially likes the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Ms Wood likes all genre.

Two second grade boys sharing a book on an iPad.We wondered what type of book format that the teachers like to read. Mrs. Atkinson, Mr. Wadness and Ms Wood all  agreed that they all like paperback because it is easy to hold and they like to feel a book in their hand. Mr. Wadness does not like hardcover because he thinks it’s too big. Ms Wood and Mrs. Atkinson also likes electronic devices because it’s easy to turn pages and it saves their spot. Ms Wood also likes digital devices because she can download a book on the App Store and just lie in bed and start reading.

We were interested to know what some fourth and fifth grade students liked about RYHOD. They all agreed, they love it. Several talked about how they have a time to read books they like. A couple said it feels like a day off from school, because you get to relax and hang with your friends.

Stuffed animals, blankets, pillows and lots of books are what students shared they bring with them. Wearing pajamas and slippers is a cool thing to be allowed to do at school. These fourth and fifth grade students have enjoyed RYHOD since kindergarten.

Reading was the favorite activity for all of the fourth and fifth graders we talkedTwo fourth grade girls sitting on a counter in their classroom read by themselves. too. One fourth grader really liked reading with their kindergarten buddies. Some other activities they liked to do are reading by yourself, with friends, and with younger reading buddies. Others shared they make games based on books read, and when it happens to fall on Valentine’s Day, they enjoy creating valentines for their classmates.

Adventure seems to be a favorite genre of the kids. They like mystery because of the suspense and fantasy for the magic and wizards. Books come in all different formats: paperback, hardcover, audio, digital, so we wondered if they had a favorite. Most like digital but pretty much all of them like print.

On Read Your Heart Out Day, you can hear kids and teachers laughing and talking excitedly as they arrived at school. The energized students quickly claim their spots in their classroom. Then, you can hear a pin drop … everybody’s reading! It’s definitely one of the best days of the school year for both the students and teachers.

Reported by Rachel and Tommy

A Favorite Day of the School Year!

Would you like to go to school in your pajamas and read all day? Well, the students at Chickering School get  to do that on a very special day called Read Your Heart Out Day (RYHOD). But you don’t really read your heart out of your body. RYHOD is when the students get to read all day and if they want to wear their pajamas. they can. They can also bring their stuffed animals, pillows, and/or blankets. RYHOD is a celebration of the end of Fit & Lit, a program to exercise our brains and bodies.

During RYHOD students of all classes come to school in pajamas and slippers. Some students bring blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. In some classrooms teachers put up canopies or tents for students to read under or in. Some activities students do are listen to parent guest readers, read with classroom buddies, perform Readers Theater, and sometimes room parents would bring in special snacks. But mostly we read, read, read!

This year with digital readers, we needed to get special permission from our principal, Dr. Nugent. Currently our student handbook doesn’t allow us to bring in any digital devices from home. Dr. Nugent granted permission to bring in Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and other eBook devices. The students were very grateful to Dr. Nugent for allowing them to bring in reading devices for RYHOD.

Everybody at Chickering School loves RYHOD! We talked to our teacher, Mrs. Haggett, and teaching assistant, Mr Crowley, about their feelings regarding Read Your Heart Out Day. Mrs. Haggett said, ” I love read your heart out day because students read what ever they want and we can have fun talking about different books and sometimes parents come in and read to us.” ” Yes, I do,  because it gives everyone a chance to relax, wear comfortable clothes, sit anywhere they want, and also focus on reading all day long,” remarked Mr. Crowley. Some of the students shared with us: “…read all day and not do any subject[s]….” “…it is fun and you do not have to do any work at all.” and “…read all day.  It is nice to relax and not do any work all day.” One student that we interviewed had mixed feelings about RYHOD, ” I like it because I really like reading. But I don’t like it because you’re not allowed to talk so its just quiet time all the time.”

We asked the teachers if they think Read Your Heart Out Day is a good idea? Both Mrs. Haggett and Mr Crowley think that this special day is a “wonderful idea”.  Mr. Crowley said, “…it gives everyone a chance to relax and get a break from all the other subjects and focus on reading various kinds of literature.” “…we do get to choose what we want to read.  We get to do reading plays if we want to , we can read poetry and we can have parents come in and read to the children,” replied Mrs Haggett.

For our outstanding work during Fit & Lit 2012, the principal rewarded the entire school with a second RYHOD! Coming from the gym was a thunderous, earsplitting, booming cheer following Dr. Nugent’s announcement. We certainly love Read Your Heart Out Day!


Reported By: Amy, Martin, and Sophia