Ben-Hem Happenings Newsletter

April 2014 Feature Article:

Books for Ben-Hem

Written by Kristin Stoetzel, Reading Specialist/Intervention Coordinator

Throughout the course of this school year, Ben Hem students have been fortunate to receive many new books.  By my calculations, this year we have received over 4500 books at Ben Hem, all of which have been inventoried, labeled and delivered to classrooms.  Of this number, approximately 2000 have been purchased with Ben Hem funds to supplement classroom libraries.  This supports our initiative to increase the "time on text" in the reading blocks and demonstrates a commitment on the part of the Ben Hem administration to ensure our students have appropriate and adequate reading material.  The article The Six Ts of Effective Elementary Literacy Instruction by Richard Allington, former president of the International Reading Association, highlights the importance of having both time to read as well as the need for a vast supply of books.

In addition to books purchased by Ben Hem, the district has supplied us with an additional 2,224 books. These books are all directly related to our new writing units of study, either as professional texts, immersion texts, or mentor texts.  When beginning a unit of study on writing How To or All About books, our Kindergarteners and first graders can be immersed in many published examples to search for text features or learn more about a new topic.  Third graders researching the American Revolution and second graders conducting country research all have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, all at levels accessible to particular age groups.  Again, this shows a commitment on the part of Natick administration to provide us with the resources we need to teach the new units effectively. 

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The parent community was invaluable in helping to get the books out to classrooms.  With the help of the Teacher Time Savers group, PTO members Krissy Fernandes, Debbie Forte, Trudi Lord, Rachael Tearle, along with some of our fourth grade students, helped to label each and every book to ensure it remains a part of the Ben Hem collection for many years to come.