It won’t surprise many parents to know that in a recent study carried out in the United States, the habit of daily reading was strongly correlated with better reading skills and higher academic achievement.
It may surprise some, however, to learn that regular reading also seems to promote a wide range of positive social, civic and physical behaviours, so that students who do more reading for pleasure also create more art, exercise more, and play more sports.
Literary readers are nearly twice as likely to take part in charitable activities, they write more, and when they finish school, they earn more.
Coupled with the unmistakable decline in daily reading by teens in recent years, these findings are enormously significant for Cayman’s young people.
With this in mind, CIS celebrated Teen Reading Week recently in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Public Library. The week’s activities were designed to promote the habit of reading for pleasure, and to highlight something many teens seem to have forgotten: reading can be fun.
The week began with a series of ‘Undercover Read-Ins’ in the secondary classrooms. Teachers left secret notes for their classes inviting them to enjoy an unexpected spot of reading. The teens could then be found sprawled comfortably around the campus with books in hand, or huddled up with the preschool and kindergarten students, enjoying stories.
In addition, teachers implemented a ‘Caught Reading’ programme, and teens spotted reading for pleasure during their breaks and lunches were photographed for the Teen Reading Week display.
On Thursday morning, students were treated to a surprise ‘Books to Films’ viewing in the Multi-Purpose Room.
The film version of Mitch Albom’s popular novel, Tuesdays With Morrie, was shown. The novel was then made available for check out in the library, and has been in hot demand ever since.
An overdue book amnesty was in place all week, and students were encouraged to return any library book to the school, no matter how overdue or damaged, with no questions asked.
The highlight of the week was the ‘Teens Read Bedtime Stories’ event, held in the library from 6:30 to 7:30 on Thursday evening. Students in kindergarten and grade one were invited to return to school after dinner, dressed in pyjamas and carrying their pillows and favourite stuffed animals, to hear bedtime stories read by high school students. Shelby Maines, Whitney Foster, Heather Turner, Owen Foster, Melanie Bush, Nicholas Terc and Monique Rowe did a wonderful job leading the storytime programme, belting out songs with gusto, performing fingerplays like seasoned teachers, and reading with enthusiasm and style.