The month of March is known for holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Pi day, but for many school districts like Williamston, March is best known as reading month.
March was chosen to be reading month because of the famous children’s book author Dr. Seuss, whose birthday is March 2.
During March, school districts like Williamston, design different activities and bring in guest speakers to talk and read to students. Some of these special readers included author of the “National Park Mysteries” series, Mary Morgan, Williamston school districts director of curriculum and special education Dr. Michele Cook, and state representative Tom Cochran.
“I think it’s so beneficial for schools to devote extra attention for reading,” said Morgan. “I like incentives such as getting prizes for completing reading charts and bringing authors into schools to get kids fired up about reading.”
These special guests hoped that their visits will not only get the students more involved in reading, but also set a precedent moving forward.
“As the adage says, ‘The more you read, the more you’ll know,’’’ said Morgan. “I encourage students to read and learn about different things so they will be well-rounded. I want them to see reading as an important part of their life.”
One of the core reasons why Williamston participates in National Reading Month is to help students learn to read by breaking apart the elements that produce good readers according to Dr. Cook.
“If students begin to understand language early, they are able to develop into great readers by the third grade,” said Cook.
And by becoming more developed readers, they believe it will help students be better prepared in the classroom because reading is a major part of school work which allows them to better understand and enjoy what they read.
One major difference for this generation and how they read is that some of their reading takes place online.
“The internet is changing how we gain and access information,” said Williamston High School principal Dr. Jeff Thoenes.
But with all of this knowledge at students fingertips, Thoenes emphasizes how important it is to understand what is true and what is false.
“Readers now must have a better understanding of credible sources,” said Thoenes.
According to Common Sense Media, teens and adolescents are rarely reading for pleasure. Only half of 17-year-olds said they read for fun, but this is something that is not seen at Williamston High School.
“Students today are (in general) better educated than their parents and grandparents, have much more challenging curriculum than any previous generation, and are more academically active as well,” said Thoenes. “As with any school, we have some students who are bookworms and some who avoid reading but I don’t see a drop off in reading.”
As students get older, the amount of events taking place in non-elementary schools decreases. Williamston High School did not organize any school wide events for reading month, but Cook stresses the importance of this special month.
“I believe all should participate, but the elementary age students are the grades that it begins in to develop the idea of how important reading is to all,” said Cook.