Students drop everything and read

Hundreds of Nanaimo students put their regular studies aside to enjoy a good book Monday.

Hundreds of Nanaimo students put their regular studies aside to enjoy a good book Monday.

About half of the schools in the district participated in the Drop Everything and Read Challenge, which celebrates and joy of reading and the power of literacy by reading for 20 minutes, said Val Martineau, teacher-librarian at Randerson Ridge Elementary School and the district’s representative with the B.C. Teacher-Librarians’ Association.

The event also highlights the importance of school libraries, she added.

“We’re kind of the meeting place for everyone, the hub of the school,” said Martineau.

Some schools are having students read or reading to them for 20 minutes, while other schools have organized special activities to make the event more exciting for students, she said.

Randerson Ridge had a pyjama day and members of the Nanaimo Clippers hockey team, as well as superintendent Dave Hutchinson, dropped in to read with students.

“Some of our older kids are reading with the little kids,” Martineau added.

Members of the Clippers will also head to Quarterway Elementary School.

At Wellington Secondary School, city councillors are coming to read a newspaper article about a decision council made to social studies students and members of the Vancouver Island Raiders football team, First Nations elders and school trustees will also read to and with students.

Senior students at John Barsby Secondary School are going to surrounding elementary schools to read with the younger students.

Martineau said getting sports teams involved gives literacy a huge boost for the boys especially because students are seeing their role models reading.

The district has been participating in DEAR every year on National School Library Day since 2007, the year it was started by a teacher-librarian in Victoria, said Martineau, and the event has grown steadily.

“Last year we had 45,000 people partake in it in B.C.,” she said.