Amber Schlak on Love of Reading Week
In February, Program Manager Amber Schlak represented our partnership by participating in Love of Reading Week at two partner schools, Gale Elementary in the Tucson Unified School District and Butterfield Elementary in the Marana Unified School District. Schlak is a former elementary school teacher whose love of reading runs deep, and in her current role she primarily works with educators to develop strategies to increase early grade reading proficiency among students in our partner districts.
We asked Amber to share why Love of Reading Week is so important to her:
I was a struggling reader when I was little and found my love for books during read alouds at school and story time at the public library. As a struggling reader, you know that you can’t read every book, but that isn’t true during a read aloud. There are no limits. I was instantly hooked when my teachers and other readers would use silly voices for the characters and made me feel like I was in the story. Books became magical and exciting instead of a constant battle.
Once I was a teacher, my favorite part of the day was read aloud time. I had the best seat in the house to watch students’ curious faces make connections, build background knowledge, and just enjoy new and old stories. I would start at least one book a week with, “This is one of my favorite books.” The children would giggle and say, “You have so many favorites! How can you have so many favorites?”
My own children are almost grown-up but still will cuddle up to hear a classic book read to them. I absolutely love to read stories to children, and in fact that is what I miss most now that I have retired from teaching. In my new job with C2C, I work directly with teachers each month and I only see the students passing by in the hallways. Love of Reading week allows me to take my favorite books back into the classroom and be that magic and excitement for students that made all the difference for me as a learner.