Happy Almost Break—and for a full week for the first time. As you solidify your plan for this time when school is paused a bit, please consider the challenge/ask noted below.
Following is a rather standard greeting I use when visiting a classroom of ZCS’s youngest students.
“Good morning, humans! I am your guest reader this morning. I’m Scott Robison. I get to work with your principal and a lot of other people in Zionsville to make sure we have great teachers like yours to help you learn and grow. I’m going to share a new book with you and then ask you a few questions about what you like to read. It really is true that leaders are readers, so I want to know what you like to read.”
Most often my self-introduction is stalled a bit by young kids who think it is funny that I call them humans. Some profess to not be human and make faces, but we move on pretty quickly.
Recent reading visits to each ZCS elementary school gave me the opportunity to have a look at this class they call “2026!” Wow, are they ever curious, funny and smart. After a fifteen minute reading and discussion of some new picture book that I donate to their classroom library, I asked each group about what they are reading and who is reading to them. The answers usually confirm what I already know about the level of parents’ education in Zionsville. (This is strongly correlated with best parenting practices for very young children, and it is one of the main reasons ours is an excellent school district.)
In each of the groups I see while making these rounds to various K-2 classrooms in ZCS, I notice a child or two with no hand raised when asked about bedtime reading with mom or dad, having a favorite book in the car, or having a favorite book and book light at bedside. The teacher always notices, too. The information is important for attention and/or supports that follow.
The power of early “reading with” experiences for young children is truly amazing, and I know that most parents in this community already know it, so I’ll dismount the high horse of this after asking that you shoot a photo of Fall Break travels or staycationing time in which your child is actually caught reading. Please just submit to my email (email@example.com) with subject line “Reading Pic”—and we’ll make good use of it—and reward in two categories:
- Most interesting* (sorry, I’ll not divulge the criteria), and
- Apparently oldest student enjoying a read aloud story**
Thanks for keeping these young brains of our youth engaged during the school hiatus. Happy October in Indiana—or wherever you’ll be.
Superintendent of Schools
*I told my PVE and Eagle read aloud buddies that my wife has several dad-daughter pictures from when we waited for roller coasters and other rides at King’s Island and Disneyworld. Paperbacks made many crowded amusement park waits go so much faster!
**My wife and I read to the two older children—and discussed increasingly complex topics—well into their high school years. I remember reading A Girl Named Zippy by Indiana author Haven Kimmel to my Abby when she was a sophomore. Short stories, poems, political opinions, famous quotes, and on and on… Of course, it ceased being about the reading, per se, but reading and learning together about interesting things is, to my mind, the best possible springboard to raising thinkers who can thrive.