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Fifth Annual Summer Reading Celebration

Fifth Annual Summer Reading Celebration
Posted on 09/26/2017
Teachers and students at the Vassal Lane Upper School celebrated summer reading as a community for the fifth year in a row on Wednesday September 13th.

Last spring, the VLUS ELA teachers created a Summer Book List to share with incoming students. Teachers and students selected books to read from the list and then received copies of the books they selected before they left for summer vacation. Teachers and students were asked to read their books during the summer and to return in September ready to discuss their books in small book groups.

Number the StarsDuring the second week of school, teachers and students met and discussed their books in forty-one small book groups. Book groups met outside on the fields behind the school on a beautiful, sunny morning.

Christine Beltran, the SEI Science teacher at VLUS, shared her experience during the school wide book groups: “The students were engaged in texts that they were genuinely interested in. The questions and comments they prepared were great, and they had some great insight on the characters!” Heidi Munoz, the VLUS School Psychologist, shared, “I always enjoy getting to lead discussions with students I don’t often interact with. It’s nice to have different grade levels in one book group.”

VLUS teachers and students were happy to welcome Anda Adams, CPS’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, as a book group facilitator this year. After discussing Number the Stars by Lois Lowry with her group, Dr. Adams reflected, "What sticks with me about being part of a summer book group was the students' eagerness to share favorite passages and thought-provoking questions with each other, their re-imagining the book's plot in a different time period or setting, many torn between donating their book to a class library or keeping it to read again, and some sharing other recent reads as recommendations to the group."

The Sun is Also a StarMany Vassal Lane students enjoyed exchanging ideas about what books to read next with other members of their book groups at the end of their discussions. Book groups had a mix of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students, giving everyone a chance to get to know one another a little better outside of their regular classroom schedules and groupings.

Two popular books on the Vassal Lane Summer Book List were The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and Ghost by Jason Reynolds.

Faculty members and students are looking forward to continuing what has become a beloved fall tradition at the Vassal Lane Upper School. The Vassal Lane Summer Reading Program provides a valuable opportunity to strengthen and celebrate the school’s growing community of readers.