Friday, February 13, 2009

Reading at Prairiewood Elementary

Yesterday I participated in District 200's Love-to-Read Week and spent most of a class period with a wonderful group of kids and teachers at Prairiewood Elementary School in Woodstock District 200.

When the teacher called me, she told me that the kids to whom I would be reading were in wheelchairs and were "Life Skills" students. That would not have been enough information for many readers, but it was for me, and I was ready, willing and able to share the time with students in Special Education.

I showed up with three of my own books and immediately realized I wouldn't use them. I was presented to the class, all of whom were seated on the floor of the classroom. A desk chair had been placed in front of them, but instead I chose to sit on the floor with them. Before I sat down, I asked if they knew what books could be used for. "For sitting on," and I put my books on the floor and sat on them!

I must have kept them entertained. They were a great audience. I think several grades were combined, and the three books I read were definitely for very young children, so I made sure that I turned the books with the pictures toward them.

I encourage everyone in Woodstock to participate in our schools. These students were, indeed, very special students, and the teachers and staff who work with them are among the most special. Often, the very best thing you can do is just show up. Be yourself. Be friendly. Hold up your end of the conversation. Make eye contact. Let them know you are glad to be in their presence.

And make sure that these special kids get included in all school activities.

No comments: