“It’s hard for me to squeeze in all the reading and writing I want to do every day.” -a Mack-Boulder student
In addition to a vigorous IB curriculum, Mackintosh Academy-Boulder has a strong dedication to nurturing and supporting avid readers and writers. The school has double-downed on the importance of developing a love of reading and writing by expanding the library from a small collection started by loving volunteers to the new permanent space that boasts a carefully curated collection of 6,000+ books. Mack-Boulder has also committed to training all of the teachers in the younger grades in the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading as well as sending teachers in the upper grades to The Center for Teaching & Learning in Maine to be trained in Nancie Atwell’s reading and writing workshop approach.
In addition to the opportunity and support to develop as readers and writers in the classroom, Mack students also have a host of enrichment opportunities. Faculty have offered Friday Explorations options throughout the year to encourage students of all ages to engage as readers and writers: Camp Read-a-Lot, Land of Mack-Believe, 90-Second Newbery Film, Mock Newbery Committee, Book Bloggers-in-Training, and so on. The school has invested in bringing in award-winning authors to help educate and inspire the students—in the past two years we’ve hosted T.A. Barron, Deborah Wiles, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jeffery Bennett, and Steve Sheinkin is visiting this April. 8th grade student, Sarah, loves writing so much, she’s signed on to be the Boulder editor of the combined Littleton and Boulder literary magazine, Mack Storybook. “The purpose is for students to get a look into publishing without all of the criticism and competitive atmosphere that comes with it. It’s a way to show your writing without being afraid of negative comments. It will also provide the opportunity for the two campuses to collaborate on something,” said Sarah.
Teachers also model the love of reading by immersing themselves in literature for young people so that they can participate in the “community of readers” feeling amongst students. Several teachers are working on writing of their own—such as sixth grade teacher Jim Parker who started a blog—and this can be inspiring and encouraging to students.
The various “rewards” from this school-wide commitment to reading and writing are abundant. To name just a few: there are third graders who routinely check out four to five books with each visit to the library; students in all grades “book talk” their favorite recent-reads and pass along interest in books; a fourth grader is writing a novel; two eighth graders, Grace and Ella, submitted their work to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards this year (330,000 works were submitted nationwide by students in 7th-12th grades) and both received Honorable Mentions. Most important of all, there is a culture of “reading and writing are cool,” and students who develop into life-long readers who can articulate their thoughts/ideas and express them effectively in writing will be able to meet their futures ready for anything.
Submissions for Mack Storybook due March 22. Give submissions to your teacher or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Scholastic Book Fair begins next week:
8am-4:30pm-Tuesday the 21st & Wednesday the 22nd
8am-6pm- Thursday, March 23rd
9am-3pm- Friday, March 24th