“Look at all of these books!”
“Can I just live in here?”
“We love you!”
It’s comments like those from Randolph’s youngest readers when they visit the Hartley-Bailey Lower School Library that resonate the most with Librarian Cathy Zeller. The awestruck stares, hugs, and seeing a child snuggle up with a book on the couch or built-in pirate ship are also signs that the library is a special place on campus.
“I just get teary thinking about how much the students love to spend time in here,” shares Zeller. “We’ve worked really hard to make the books accessible and organized in a way that the kids can find what they’re interested in.”
One of Randolph’s core values is a growth mindset, meaning an openness to bettering oneself or the community through lifelong learning. Reading is a fundamental life skill and a pathway to knowledge and expanding one’s understanding of the world and others. In support of the “One Randolph” strategic initiative and with the goal of creating a shared event that both challenges PK-8 students to read more and have fun doing it, the Lower and Middle School Librarians and Middle School language arts teachers collaborated for “Read Across Randolph” during the month of February. The theme this year is “Blast Off With Books”.
“It’s a way to acknowledge and celebrate Randolph as a community of readers, including students, their families, and our faculty and staff,” explains Zeller. “It’s an opportunity for the Lower and Middle School students to have an event centered around something they all love, which is reading.”
Here are some of the fun events planning during the month-long celebration of reading:
- Reading Challenge
- Giant rocket ship posters line the halls leading up to the entrance of the Lower School Library. As students read books each week, they’ll be added to the rockets to see which grade can blast off first!
- Bookmark Decorating Content
- Using their imagination and artistic skills, students will have an opportunity to decorate a bookmark. The winning designer will have lunch with a visiting author.
- Raider Reading Reunions
- Students in grades 1-5 will visit their teachers from last school year for a special read aloud. Pre-K and kindergarten students will get together for a 30th birthday party for the book, The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.
- Book Drive
- Middle School students are holding a book drive and will make a donation to a local charitable organization.
- Spirit Week & Book Character Parade
- From silly socks day to a family reading night, the week of February 27th – March 3rd culminates with faculty, staff, and students dressing up as their favorite book characters for a parade.
- Author Visits
- Robert Bailey is a Randolph parent and the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Jason Rich series, the McMurtrie and Drake legal thrillers series, the Bocephus Haynes series, and the inspirational novel, THE GOLFER’S CAROL. Bailey will meet with Middle School students who have a passion for writing to share his experiences and professional insights.
- Danny Schnitzlein, an award-winning children’s author, will host a series of presentations for PK-5 students to share his passion for reading, writing, and creating. His books have been adapted into plays, and even a ballet! His book, Gnu and Shrew, made the list of Best STEM Books of 2021. Danny also writes scripts and songs for children’s educational television.
“I hope that our students have fun!” says Zeller. “I also hope that they are inspired to share their love of reading with their friends and family and our parents will use this opportunity to get involved. It’s not just about the library, it’s about community.”
Families are encouraged to share pictures of their students and/or family reading and email them to the Randolph Communications Office. Additionally, parents and guardians are always welcome to visit the Lower School Library and learn more about the resources available to students. There are also opportunities to volunteer to read to students and assist with shelving and updating the catalog.