“It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading.”

Three times a week, before the creative writing portion of that day’s programming begins, four to six students come to the Creative Youth Center for Book Club. Book Club students meet one-on-one with an adult reading tutor and read from 3:30 to 4:15 before participating in that day’s creative writing programming. Each student is paired with their tutor and given time to read  and experience literature. This enables students to learn literacy skills, and become passionate about reading, while also discovering what they like and don’t like. Students are empowered to select which book they want to read, which allows them to be more engaged. By being encouraged to read a book of their choosing, and receiving guidance when necessary, students ultimately begin to locate their own thoughts and opinions on writing in general. They are then more equipped to find themselves and their own stories once they have been exposed to the impactful stories of others. As the age groups vary from first and second graders, to third through fifth graders, there is a range of accessible and quality reading to choose from. Some of that material is pictured here.

Book Club and its mission might remind one of the following quote: Children’s author Katherine Paterson, creator of Bridge to Terabithia and other books, said “It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations– something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.” The CYC’s Book Club embodies this quote, as it is a program that not only helps children to enjoy good books, but also helps them makes sense of the world around them and the people they love. In this way, students’ voices are celebrated at the CYC, not just as students create their own writing, but also as they respond to the writing of others.

 

Finding Friendship in Unusual Places

There’s nothing quite as wonderful as a good friend. Someone you can always count on, even when times are rough. At the Creative Youth Center, friendships often grow and bloom because of students’ abilities to share themselves and share their writing. The first and second grade students have been reading and writing about friendship this year, and they have written some incredible stories. Here is part of second grader Elle’s ongoing chronicle of adventures:

Chapter one- One day Chimp wrote a letter to Dino. It said that Chimp was on vacation for a week. Then Dino got another letter. It said I’m lonely. Then Dino wrote a letter to Chimp. It said we will meet for dinner at a pizza place. And they did. Then Chimp said would you like to stay with me. Dino said yes. The end.

Chapter two- When Dino got to Chimp’s house they got their PJ’s on, brushed their teeth and got in bed and then Dino said can you read me a story. Chimp said yes. They read about pirates and went to bed.

Elle is pictured with her Book Club volunteer reading buddy, Vera. Stay tuned for more installments of Dino and Chimp’s adventures!