Celebrating Young Readers Week at CVMS
On Friday November 10, Principal Tiffani Collins of Cameron Veterans Middle School (CVMS) rose to the challenge of Young Readers Week sponsored by the Book-It program. On Friday morning, dressed in a superhero costume, Collins and the teachers of CVMS ushered every student in the school into the gym, to join Collins on the floor for the reading of one of her favorite books from childhood, The BFG by Roald Dahl.
National Young Readers Week has been an annual event held during the second week of November to raise awareness around the importance of reading. Challenges go out to principals around the country to become shining examples for literacy by choosing one day to read their hearts out.
Susan Stuedle said she received the email challenge and asked Collins or Mr. Fisher if either of them would like to participate and she said Collins immediately volunteers. Originally the plan had been to read on the practice field outside, but the weather was too cool, so Mrs. Tunks, the PE teacher suggested everyone circle around Collins in the gym. Mrs. Leeper, art teacher, helped with the costume and Collins chose the book she read.
As the students and Collins settled in on the floor, Collins shared her own love of the book she was sharing. Collins said she was raised by educators who loved to read and she loved math, it was an effort for her to learn to read.
“Math is numbers, reading is words,” Collins told the students. “It was a struggle for me to learn to like words.”
Collins went on to tell the students about her love of the book The BFG – which she was holding. She told them this was her original book from when she was younger and showed them the very first time she wrote her name in the book. She wrote her name in it again from middle school, again when she became a classroom instructor, and a final time this summer when she read to her son over the summer. She showed the students the age and wear on the book and explained to them, this is her personal book.
But perhaps the most important message Collins had for her students came when she talked about her own struggles, not only with reading, but with public speaking.
“I am terrified of speaking in front of a crowd,” Collins shared with the students. “On top of that, I do not like to read out loud. I stutter, I get mixed up and I look at a word and I know what the word is, but that is not what comes out of my mouth. When I mess up, know I’m human, just like you are. When I get my words mixed up and you are reading in class and you get your words mixed up, know it’s normal.”
There were approximately 500 people in the gym.
“So those of you who think you can’t do things or you’re too afraid to do stuff. I am reading in front of 500 people and I am not comfortable with it, but I am doing it.” Collins said.
Collins went on to read three chapters of The BFG to the students.