Letter from the Editor: Starbucks Day and reading wonders

Books

By Courtney Warren

If I had a nickel for every time I heard a person say they didn’t like to read or reading was boring…well, student loans would be the least of my worries.


Last year, I did a survey with my students to gauge the reading culture I was immersed in. How many of them read for fun? Less than ten percent.


How many of them had parents who read at home? Less than fifteen percent.


I asked what some of their trepidations were when it came to reading. Many answered they couldn’t find something they enjoyed, struggled to concentrate, or couldn’t handle the pressure of knowing there would be a test. A few even said their parents joked about it, and they were self-conscious.


It was from there that Starbucks Day was born.


The “Sunday scaries” are a real thing - for not only teachers, but students. Relaxing from the weekend comes to a close on Sunday when we know all that awaits us Monday morning.


Starbucks Days happen every single Monday, and all they entail is finding a book you enjoy and reading for fun. It’s called Starbucks Day because the students pretend they’re in a coffee shop–they’re strangers– so they don’t talk to each other but simply read for fun. That evening, students answer a question just to explain what’s going on in the story and how they can relate to the characters.


There is no pressure with this day—they read whatever they want. Whatever makes them happy. From fantasy to non-fiction to graphic novels to a Tim Tebow devotional, everyone has found something they enjoyed.


The response has been overwhelming. As long as you complete your assignments fully and on time, you get an A. There’s no pressure to study for a quiz or remember something for a test, and students have been able to just hang out and enjoy a story.


My own rule is that I do the same. It was way harder than I thought it would be! It’s important for them to see me reading for fun, but there have been times when I’ve had a massive to-do list hanging over my head, and my fingers have itched to start working.


Luckily, a lot of students are quick to call attention to the fact that I’m supposed to read and tell them about my book, too.


It’s been so much fun seeing them discover these stories.


I have one that learned he loves contemporary fiction, one that loves non-fiction about the outdoors and hiking expeditions.


I have one that will read anything if I put it in a graphic novel format. “Even girly stuff, Ms. Warren.”


They’ve also started recommending books to each other. It’s perfectly fine to give a book a bad review, as long as they explain why. What did the story lack for you? Can you think of someone who would have enjoyed it more? They rate these books out of five stars, and, by the end of this semester, most students will have read at least two, if not three, additional books.
How awesome is that?


When my daughter was born, my dad told me something I’ll probably never forget: “The only thing you can leave your child with when you’re gone from this earth is a conscience and an education.”


As I read with my little one each night and take her on bookstore adventures, I can only hope that I’m giving her the tools to succeed and the love for finding a safe escape from everyday life.

 

We can find home in between the pages of a book. Seeing that happen in her, as well as in my students, gives me a lot of hope for the future.

 

 

Canton News [email protected]

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