Reading is a foundational component to building leaders who serve Jesus and the world well. More than ever, we need to develop students into readers who can analyze and interpret the Word of God so they can use it as a plumb line for determining truth. The Leaders are Readers program at HLA was designed to help students master the skill of reading and creating understanding from the written text while fostering a love for reading at every level. This is achieved by a three-tier process:
Academically, our classroom teachers program differentiated reading instruction for campus days and satellite days. We meet students where they are in their reading abilities and strive to help them see growth each year. The goal is that all students will be on grade level for reading by the end of third grade.
The most important step to our Leaders are Readers program however, is the drive towards creating a culture of reading at our school and satellite campuses. It is our prayer that our students will fall in love with books at an early age. We have several initiatives that play out during the course of a school year to help us achieve this culture of reading.
At the K-6 campuses, students enjoy regular read-aloud time during the campus school day. Guest readers and mystery readers often join the classes during this time.
All campuses have a campus library and classes are invited to come and check out books regularly. At the middle and high school campuses, students can drop by the library and check out books as desired.
Towards the end of October, we host a “Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character Day” each year. Students and staff at all K-12 campuses enjoy dressing up and bringing their book along with them to school. We have campus contests for the best costume each year. The children often get very creative and make their own costumes! Even the staff enjoys getting involved in this fun reading-based event.
Just before spring break, we allow students and staff to take a break on a Friday and do nothing but read! We set a campus goal each year and students log their minutes collectively. If the campus reaches the goal, a prize awaits! From pies in the face to head shavings, you never know what we might be up to! Students who read and log the most minutes on this day also are awarded prizes.
We have invited several authors and illustrators over the years to visit our campus to speak with our students about the book writing/illustrating process. Our guests vary from year to year but it’s always a wonderful time! During the 2021-2022 school year, we welcomed Merrily Strickland-Boyd to our K6 campuses for a lesson on illustrating a children's book (Sleepsinging). We were delighted she donated a signed copy of the book to our K6 Apex campus library! We also hosted local author Diane Silcox Jarrett as part of a grant with the United Arts Council, who hosted a writers workshop for our 7th graders at the Apex middle school campus.
(Pictured: Diane Silcox Jarrett, Merrily Strickland-Boyd, Sleepsinging book)
Even our families join us in reading! Monthly morning book clubs are held throughout the year for moms who love to read and discuss with one another. We kicked off our first book club year in 2021-2022 with two book studies on Mama Bear Apologetics. We sprinkled in a few other books throughout the year as well. At the end of the year, moms chose new titles for our monthly club for the following school year. For a look at what we are reading for 2022-2023, click here. We invite all moms to come and get to know some new faces while talking about reading! Meagan Seymour, Director of Curriculum and Instructions hosts these monthly events at our campuses, one in the North Raleigh/RTP area and one among the Apex community.
We are continually adding programs and events to our Leaders are Readers program. Future events include a Reading Buddy Program and we are excited to bring the first Book Fair to our K6 campuses in January of 2023!