readingcelebration17A new version of the annual Wilmington Montessori School Book Fair was held on Thursday, December 4. As our experience with books and how they “look” shifts, we felt like the traditional book fair should be changed to reflect some of those changes. This year a group of hard-working parents met with Assistant Head of School Laurie Orsic to discuss how to make this happen. In the end, the event was a huge success with books, authors, story time and crafts for all. Of course technology was incorporated into the experience in a couple of ways. A few authors were present to share their books while many others “visited” the Book Fair through videos, sharing the writing and illustration process. Laptops were set up for ordering through Target and Amazon. Using the Amazon link through the WMS website gives the school 4-6% of the cost of the item. It is an easy way to support the school and to do your shopping year round.

Though these new approaches were embraced by our shoppers, one of the greatest aspects of the event was the read alouds. There were many guest readers who signed up to help. Books were read in English and in Spanish. Several teachers and a few parents shared stories. However, the highlight was the children themselves who read stories to the group. This began with 9-12 student Cassie Matalonis sharing a book with the group. Children were mesmerized by her story and her wonderful reading of the book, Leonard the Terrible Monster. Abigail Worth, a 3-6 student, then asked to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See? by Eric Carle, a featured author that night. Abigail recited a story that her parents have read to her many, many times. She knew the book by heart and wanted to share it with others. This led to several 6-9 students sharing books with the crowd. They rehearsed, then sat in the big chair and read to the crowd. We heard from Grace DesMarais, Haley Kahn and Julie Cash.

The Book Fair is more than a fundraiser; it is an event to inspire reading. It allows us to take time out to look at all that reading has to offer. This year, it gave children the opportunity to listen to great stories, and then to ask to share a book they loved. Reading aloud to a group of people takes courage. It calls for much more than reading words on a page. The reader is moved to “be” different characters and to convey who they are by their voice and expressions. Thank you to everyone who took part in this event, and thank you most of all to those who support and encourage reading in their homes and classrooms each day. You are giving the children skills and joys to last a lifetime.