Milton Hershey School Shares Ways to Celebrate Read Across America Day
By Jennifer Hendry, MHS Learning Resource Specialist
Reading is a powerful tool. Readers can explore faraway places and meet new friends in the pages of a good book. Read Across America Day celebrates the activity and encourages people of all ages to join in the fun. The holiday means, even more, this year since many, including Milton Hershey School students and staff, are finding ways to take breaks from screen time and try something new.
If you consider yourself a non-reader, that’s okay, I did once too. The truth is—everyone is a reader—they just haven’t found the right book yet. With so many genres out there and the choice between physical books, audiobooks, eBooks, getting started could seem daunting. Never fear—there is truly something out there for everyone!
Since the onset of COVID-19, we have recognized the increased interest in reading and are being creative with how we can use all the library and research tools to help students find a love for reading.
Here are some tips and activities to consider for your Read Across America Day celebrations:
Book Recommendation Service
In following the MHS health and safety protocols, readers haven’t been able to walk around and explore the shelves of the library like before, so we launched a book recommendation service to partner students with their next perfect book. After students fill out a form indicating their favorite things (television shows, movies, music, etc.), the Learning Resource Center staff picks out books for them to try based on these choices. When students pick up the book bundle, they will have three surprise titles to explore—and sometimes these might be titles they would have never discovered themselves.
Try this for yourself by asking your local librarian for recommendations based on your interests or create a form for children in your family to reflect on their interests and get to the root of how reading can be fun for everyone.
Know the Ways to “Read”
Instead of staring at the screen or the pages of a book, many are finding eBooks or audiobooks are a nice change of pace—and yes, that is still a form of reading! Listening to an author or voice actor read a story using character voices can be a great experience for children or adults! At MHS, students have access to more than 2,000 eBooks and audiobooks in our catalog.
Many local libraries also have audiobook and eBook catalogs that can be referenced online. There are also apps, like Audible, where you can explore over 500,000 titles.
COVID-Friendly Reading Activities
While it is fun to get lost in a book, it doesn’t have to be an individual activity. There are many ways friends and families can come together and find a love for reading. Consider starting a book club as a student home or with a group of friends so you can discuss and find community in the same story.
In Senior Division, we have a special Goodreads group called “Spartan Bookworms,” that helps our high school students connect through books. Goodreads is a free, social networking site for readers to allow users to keep track of books they’ve read and want to read.
You can also set goals for yourself—how many books will you read this month or for the rest of the year?