At Gateway School, we celebrate literacy from the first day of Kindergarten through the 8th grade graduation ceremony, by writing poems, letters, reports, and speeches, sharing read-alouds, and discussing readings in book groups. We know that building reading and writing skills takes a lot of time and practice, with materials carefully calibrated to each child’s readiness. Being in a print-rich environment that celebrates literacy helps build a culture of readers and writers in our community.
One of our teachers’ strategies is to model writing and reading strategies in the classroom, which helps students see adults employing strategies while taking pleasure in the activity. With that in mind, I want to share some of the reading I’m planning to do this summer.
Something on race: Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, by Emmanual Acho. A former player in the NFL, Acho tackles important topics like cultural appropriation, systemic racism, and interracial families, concluding each short chapter with a section on practical ways to advocate for justice and equity.
Something on leadership: Unleashed, by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss. As a formal leader, I’ve also been an active student of leadership for a long time, and this book focuses on an aspect of leadership that I greatly value; figuring out how to create an environment in which all of our teachers and administrators can succeed.
Something on child development: 14 Talks By Age 14, by Michelle Icard. Though the topics are nothing new (relationships, boundaries, etc), Icard offers a transformative approach that invites engagement, defuses pushback, and leads towards genuine connection. I’ve already started using the conversational framework with my own 14 year old, and I’m only a couple of chapters in.
Something just for fun: I’m taking suggestions for this slot! If you’ve read something wonderful recently — about music, world history, or science fiction especially — please pass it along, I’d love to hear.
Some of my fondest memories from childhood include the thrill of getting to pick out a new book at the bookstore, having a helpful librarian make recommendations based on some authors I enjoyed, and sitting in the cool shade of a backyard tree with a book in one hand and a glass of lemonade in the other. Whatever your child wants to read (because there’s room enough for old favorites, new Graphic Novels, cliched Young Adult, and ambitious novels), I hope your family makes many happy memories reading together this summer.
Dr. Zachary Roberts
Head of School