By Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
I got my first passport when I was 15 years old. Standing in line at the local post office, nervous and not really sure what to expect, I waited. Clutching the pre-filled paperwork, I made my way to the attendant. After a couple signatures and a quick photo, he said I could expect my password in about six weeks. I thought, “Wait, that’s it?”
That’s all it took! Six weeks later, my passport arrived, and I realized I had the ability to travel almost anywhere. I flipped through the passport, memorized, yet determined, to fill out the little booklet. A book in the hands of a child holds that same ability. From the depths of the sea to space and beyond, a book is a magical passport to anywhere we want. It gives students the chance to explore the world. With each book, students take something away and they grow, much like a passport allows us to do.
“From the depths of the sea to space and beyond, a book is a magical passport to anywhere we want.”
On a rickety old wooden chair under a dusty old black sorting hat, anxiously waiting to hear which house I’ll be in for the next seven years. In the arctic, clutching my steaming coffee and waiting out another windstorm in my shack before I can continue my research. On my belly, crawling through pitch-black tunnels, surrounded by rocks and darkness, the only light coming from the faint glow at the end. These are just a few of the places reading has taken me.
It doesn’t matter if the destination is real or make-believe; reading fills the imagination and brings joy. The great thing about reading is that so many positives come from it, including increased vocabulary exposure, greater reading comprehension, and general growth as people, just to name a few. The key is finding something enjoyable (for me, it was books about LEGOs.) As Tedd Arnold, author of Fly Guy!, says in this year’s What Kids Are Reading report, his discovery of Mad Magazine when he was a child sparked his love of reading. When that interest is fed, reading is magical.
On Friday, March 3, 2017, thousands of students all over the country will come together in a one-day event to celebrate the power of reading and the incredible places it takes us. From pajama days to treats and comfy reading spots, ReadQuest is a day of fun for students. In fact, one of my favorite things about ReadQuest is seeing all the photos educators share on social media of their classrooms’ takes on ReadQuest (which reminds me, make sure to use #ReadQuest17 to share your adventures this year!).
ReadQuest is a day of celebration, a day to let loose and enjoy a good book. In the past, classrooms have submitted press releases recognizing their students’ achievements, invited guest readers and older students into their classrooms to read aloud to others, and displayed the live ticker showing the total number of Renaissance Accelerated Reader® and Renaissance Accelerated Reader 360® quizzes taken nationwide. On top of all that, the official ReadQuest site offers printables, such as customizable bookmarks, certificates to give your students for participating, and a passport that students can fill out to document their adventures. Be sure to check out them out as you prepare for this year’s event!
How will you celebrate ReadQuest with your students? Do you have anything special planned for the big day? Let us know in the comments!
If you haven’t registered for ReadQuest yet, there’s still time. Click the button below to register now. (Psst: The sooner you sign up, the more chances you will have to win a $25 Amazon gift card simply for registering!)