By Tiffany Hasker
Yearlong reading promoted in new California Reads program
CTA’s new reading program highlights teacher-recommended books for students of all ages.
We all know that reading is the foundation of learning and needs to be highlighted more than just once a year to make a lasting impression. A study from the National Institute for Literacy found that a person who is not at least a moderately skilled reader by the end of third grade is quite unlikely to graduate from high school.
Therefore, CTA’s Read Across America committee is piloting a project, working closely with the California School Library Association, to expand our current day of reading celebration to a yearlong promotion of reading for all ages. Rather than just one day and just one book, “California Reads” will offer teacher-approved quarterly book recommendations for four age groups.
“We’re so thrilled to be moving in this direction,” says new Read Across America Committee Chair Michael Heyl. “Teachers and librarians are literacy experts, therefore it only seems natural to be reinventing Read Across America for California this way. The possibilities are endless for how teachers can use ‘California Reads’ in their classrooms and their communities.”
Stay tuned for more from California Reads, including teacher-written book reviews, recommended class activities and highlights from local events.
Pre-K – Grade 2
Redwoods by Jason Chin
When a young boy riding the subway finds an abandoned book about redwoods; the book comes to life. Discovering that redwoods alive today first sprouted during the Roman Empire, he finds himself seated between two Roman citizens. And when emerging from the subway, he enters the forest he’s been reading about. Redwoods is an artful mix of fantasy and nonfiction, meticulously researched, written and illustrated by Jason Chin.
Grades 3 – 5
The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore
The Mangrove Tree invites readers to discover how Dr. Gordon Sato’s mangrove tree-planting project transforms an impoverished African village into a self-sufficient community. This fascinating story is a celebration of creativity, hard work — and all those mangrove trees that were planted by the sea.
Grades 6 – 8
Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein by Susan Goldman Rubin
Beginning with his childhood in Boston and ending with his triumphant conducting debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic when he was just 25, Music Was IT draws readers into the energetic, passionate, challenging, music-filled life of young Leonard Bernstein.
Grades 9 – 12
No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
In No Crystal Stair, Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson combines meticulous research with a storyteller’s flair to document the life and times of her great-uncle Lewis Michaux, an extraordinary literacy pioneer of the Civil Rights Era.