It’s People of the Book Month!

January 24, 2020

Read the full Ta Shma, Beit Rabban's weekly newsletter, here

Dear Beit Rabban Community,

It's People of the Book Month at Beit Rabban! This month we celebrate our passion for reading. It is a time to model this love for our children, to be inspired by each other to make more time for reading, and to encourage daily reading habits. There are multiple components of People of the Book Month, including:

  • The Whoo’s Reading read-a-thon, which we launched this week as a fundraiser for the school in the context of an online platform to log reading, reflect on what we have read, respond to others' reflections, and invite sponsors. This year, staff is also participating in the read-a-thon (note my shameless solicitation at the end of this message).
  • Shelfie Week is next week! Beit Rabban grown-ups and children alike are invited to share a selfie of themselves with their favorite books on a shelf, a.k.a. a "shelfie." You can post these to our Facebook page with the hashtag #PeopleoftheBookMonth or email them to us, and we will have fun papering the school with all these images. We would especially love pictures from YOU (Beit Rabban parents, grandparents, alumni and general supporters) because our students will love seeing your photos. Hopefully, we will also get some great book recommendations from each other. 
  • Layla Tov with Beit Rabban will take place the week of February 2nd. Each night that week, you can check our Facebook page to watch a video of our marvelous teachers read a bedtime story.
  • Where in the World are You Reading will take place the week of February break, Feb 9-18. Students and teachers should post pictures of themselves on the Beit Rabban Facebook page reading in unusual places, whether it is in a linen closet or on top of a mountain.
  • Pajama Day will be celebrated the day we return from vacation, Tuesday 2/19. This annual tradition pays homage to all that is good and right about an engaging book, comfy clothes, and a cozy nook. Students will join in cross-grade groups for special reading time and also enjoy milk and cookies with friends. Of course, this tradition also provides the opportunity for me to teach the children the story of Chag HaPijama, including the miraculous victory of comfy/cozy over the evil forces of business casual during the Second Temple Period, thereby inducting them into the long tradition of our people marking this day with milk and cookies and greeting each other with wishes of "Chag Sameach." Please note that this last aspect of the day has never been approved by our Director of Judaic Studies.

People of the Book Month is also taking place in each of our classrooms. Each grade spent time brainstorming and then selecting a special People of the Book Month activity they can do to increase how much their class reads. Teachers in each class are also facilitating a community meeting among their students to teach conventions for interacting on the read-a-thon website. Using curricula from Common Sense Media (which we use to teach Digital Citizenship in the Chativah), elementary school teachers are facilitating conversations about how to ensure that we live in accordance with our values when we are online. We also recommend reading through the "Parents Need to Know" tab on Common Sense Media for more guidance on how to help your child develop healthy habits online. This read-a-thon is a great opportunity to start these conversations with your children in the context of a real online experience that is scaffolded for children.

I would also like to mention that the Whoo’s Reading program has a leaderboard component, where kids can see who has read the most in each class and school-wide. In past years, there has always been a financial leaderboard as well, showing which student raised the most money for the school. This year we worked with the platform to hide the financial leaderboard, leaving only the one that shows how much time students have read. While this program is an important fundraiser, we want kids to be able to participate with joy irrespective of how much they are able to raise. We also recognize that the amount that different families raise does not necessarily correlate to their level of commitment to our school. For those parents who are eager to fundraise with their children, this is a nice way to introduce the school to your family and friends who would not otherwise have cause to support us. It is also an opportunity to discuss fundraising in general with your children: why you support organizations you care about and what are the different types of organizations and initiatives that are important to your family.

We hope that all of you will take part in some or all of of these activities designed to celebrate reading as a community while also supporting our school’s fundraising efforts. After all, they don't call us People of the Book for nothing.

Wishing all a restful and rejuvenating Shabbat,

P.S. Here's my shameless attempt to solicit read-a-thon sponsors ! I recognize my unfair advantage in using this platform to engage supporters, but the children do have a lot more time on their hands to read. So, I'm effectively just leveling the playing field smile