School District 197 Superintendent Blog
Welcome to my blog! The purpose of the blog is to provide an avenue for communication with parents and community members. I will be sharing our progress in implementing the District Strategic Framework. Periodically I will also post photos and share news of special events that I attend in our schools.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Winter is For Reading

Dear Staff, Families, and Friends of District 197:

Developing literacy is a prime mission of a school district, and ours is no exception.  We promote reading whenever we can at as early an age as possible.  Being able to read and to read well is a life skill.  It is the gateway to economic independence and prosperity, and perhaps more importantly, it develops us intellectually, socially, and spiritually.

I am grateful to be a reader.  Growing up, our home did not have much in the way of books or magazines, and I don't recall being read to as a young child.  What I do remember is being turned on to reading by a wonderful kindergarten teacher who was also my first grade teacher, and I haven't stopped reading since. I owe my love of books to Mrs. Young, and I am proud to say I have passed my love of books on to my son, who is also a voracious reader.  Of course, maybe it was because Mrs. Young was his first grade teacher too!

Reading calms and relaxes me and gives me a much needed mental break.  And it satisfies my lifelong passion for learning.  Each January I pick a topic of study that I dive into deeply for a period of months.  History is my preferred genre, so my investigation usually centers on an historic figure, event, or period in time.  Last year I studied John Adams; the year before, Thomas Jefferson.  Other figures have included Louisa May Alcott, Amelia Earhart, and Margaret Fuller.  One year I read all of Willa Cather's books.  Another year I read as much of Thoreau as I could muster.  Sometimes it's a place.  This year I plan to visit Italy from my arm chair.  As for me, I am a printed book fan.  No e-readers for me; I still like to hold a book in my hands.

I hope you will cozy up this month with your own book list.  You can even get out and enjoy reading with others! There are many opportunities for students and parents to participate in book clubs in our schools.  Your school's website will have details.  The Wentworth Library is also close by and it would be a shame to drive past without stopping this winter.

Last, don't forget to visit the Little Free Libraries that can be found in front of many of our schools. These are part of the Little Free Libraries movement, now 20,000 free libraries strong worldwide that began just down the road in Hudson, Wisconsin.  In 2009 a man built a small lending library in honor of his mother and the rest is, as they say, history.  

One of these little libraries popped up this fall on Warrior Drive where high school students park their cars.  I smiled.  It reminded me of the story of a couple whose backyard was being used as a short-cut for students walking to school.  Rather than put up a "keep off the grass" sign, they put out a bench so they could talk to students when they walked to and from school.  Now that's class.

Best wishes, and stay warm ~

Nancy Allen-Mastro