Yesterday Hopkinsville Community College (HCC) hosted a “Back to School Bash” for students. As part of the festivities, various organizations manned tables to highlight their missions. Our Literatzi team (which is sponsored by the Quality Enhancement Plan) at HCC set up our table with stacks of books, book marks, and Reading Tip Sheets. We felt treat bags would be popular with students, so we had some of those also. We gave out free copies of the book Wonder (by R.J. Palacio) which is the first book in our Three Book Challenge for our students. We want our students to read at least three books for pleasure during the academic year, and to support the goal, we provide free copies of books for any student who is interested. In addition, we spent time talking about our tutoring services.
As small groups of students gathered, we did quick book talks about Wonder, and we encouraged students to read the book flap for a description. Wonder is about Auggie Pullman “who was born with a facial difference that prevented him from going to mainstream school –until now.” The book is told from Auggie’s perspective, his sister’s perspective, his classmates perspective, We choose the book because it fits with our theme of “Empathy.” Our hope is this young adult book is a book our students will read and then share with another reader.
Comments from students spurred us on as we lost our shade and things warmed up. We were pleasantly surprised by how many students expressed excitement because they were getting a free book. Students seemed very interested in Auggie and his life. We tried to make him real for the students who came by our table. It was also endearing to hear students talk about a desire to read more just for fun. As the time progressed, our stacks of books became smaller, and our motivation to encourage reading for fun became larger.
Today, we are able to attend another “Back to School Bash” at our Fort Campbell campus. Our hope is we return home with empty book boxes. So as we all pause in our Labor a little this weekend, I hope we can find just a little time to read for fun.