Leadership for Students Activities - February 2015, NASC Edition - (Page 24)

Middle Level Activities Leading Through Reading J I M PATE R SO N W hen middle school student leaders develop service projects, they sometimes overlook efforts that could increase the academic success of their classmates. But, contrary to popular belief, academic-based projects are fun, engaging, beneficial to other students, and well received by school administration. Take literacy, for example. Middle school student leaders can make an impact in this area by actively celebrating and promoting reading and writing in their schools and communities. "Students should play an integral part in any literacy reform effort," says Nancy Dean, professor emerita at the University of Florida's P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Gainesville, FL. "It is a very good idea to involve students in instilling the idea that literacy as a school goal is important. We need to underscore Book 'Em the importance of student leadership in developing a schoolwide literacy initiative." Dean says that student involvement in any reading initiative is valuable to the school population and the student leaders. Judith L. Irvin, professor emerita at Florida State University and the executive director of the National Literacy Project (NLP), agrees. "We have found that including the student voice adds credibility and enthusiasm for the literacy improvement effort," Irvin says, noting that NLP's work on reading with large school districts throughout the country has shown that student involvement improves outcomes-and that there are many ways for student leaders to be active. She says student leadership organizations are an excellent forum for such involvement. Student leaders can review the wide variety of projects to improve literacy, including specific reading times for all students. The bestknown structure for all-school reading is based on the national Drop Everything and Read program (www.dropeverythingandread.com), which is typically celebrated in April, but some schools have implemented it all year. Some have also given the program other names related to the school mascot or school name, such as Eagle Reader Time or Wilson Reads Now. Middle schools set aside a particular time of the day or period during the week to ask everyone in the school to read. Some feature reading-related activities such as book reviews by students or opportunities to visit the school library. These activities allow time for reading practice and make reading a part of the school culture, Dean says. Indian Land Middle School in Lancaster, SC, recently won a national literacy award for its project, which There are many ways that middle school student leaders can help increase student literacy. Here are some examples from author and literacy expert Nancy Dean: what they want to read and what ■ Organize students to write and ■ Review books in the school they have read deliver literacy messages and book newspaper or in regular handouts talks on the school TV news to students or parents ■ Use online programs that track how much students read (such as ■ Develop and manage a literacy ■ Hold a poetry slam with students www.renaissance.com) website with a blog to review reading their favorite poems or books and share writing a book reading event ■ Hold a contest to match a book with the faculty member who is ■ Tutor students in lower grades ■ Ask an author to visit your school reading it or students who need additional ■ Design literacy T-shirts, posters, or help in literacy or read to a mural; hold a poster contest ■ Organize flash mobs centered younger children around reading ■ One day a month, have students put book recommendations on ■ Visit other middle or elementary ■ Hold a book drive to raise money sticky notes in the library and plan schools to deliver presentations in for books or a book fair, working class visits to review them creative ways (with skits or news with national organizations and broadcasts or reviews) on the parent groups ■ Have students start their own book importance of literacy log where they keep track of 24 leadership for student activities http://www.dropeverythingandread.com http://www.renaissance.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Leadership for Students Activities - February 2015, NASC Edition

Editor’s Note
Questions & Answers
Take Note
From the Director
Pep, Step-by-Step
Maintaining School Spirit in a Digital Age
Building Teams, Building Friendships
Middle Level Activities
Lessons for Leaders
Activities Exchange
Things to Do

Leadership for Students Activities - February 2015, NASC Edition