Walden School Book Fair was a Big Hit!

December 6, 2013

“People will typically be more enthusiastic where they feel a sense of belonging and see themselves as part of a community.”

-Alfie Kohn

Over one hundred families shopped at Walden School’s annual Book Fair. Director Matt Allio read aloud after school one afternoon with cookies and milk accompanying his storytelling. Illustrator Steve Gray came to Family Night at the Book Fair and led the audience through drawing exercises to learn about the art of illustration. Whether you are a beginning reader or a book club leader, Walden is the place for you, because at Walden we don’t take for granted the idea that reading is a gift for ourselves. Reading is especially powerful when it is shared with others.

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This idea of sharing is what prompted the Service Learning Project this year with students in our Lower Core. Each day in the classrooms we teach and watch children acquire the gift of reading with joy and excitement, and it got us thinking and talking with our students about gratitude, reciprocity, and how Walden can share something that we really appreciate with others.

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This year during the Book Fair, Walden teachers and students created classroom boxes of grade level texts that will be shared with students in Grades TK-2 at New Heights Charter School in South Los Angeles. Serving approximately 400 inner city youth, New Heights works with some of the most impoverished students in Los Angeles using Reading and Writing Workshops and a fantastic teaching staff who work tirelessly every day to push students to succeed despite some truly daunting economic and cultural obstacles. Mo Willems, David Shannon, and Antoinette Portis are particularly enjoyed authors at New Heights.

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While Walden teachers and students are grateful for the books that have been purchased in past years for Walden classrooms during the Book Fair, we find it equally valuable to gather the community’s resources and share them with those who will use them; and this connection to New Heights provides that opportunity. In Walden classrooms, students are making bookmarks to accompany the books, as well as writing letters about reading to the students at New Heights, and Walden teachers are coordinating with the teachers at New Heights to begin a pen-pal relationship with their students over the shared gift of reading.

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