Ashe Students Bring Their Love of Reading to the Garden

For the second year in a row, students at Arthur Ashe Charter School got to enjoy the fall weather in the garden while growing their love of reading. Students in grades K-2 grabbed their favorite autumn focused book, and headed to the garden with their teacher to read aloud in this special space. 

“The library assistant at Ashe chooses a handful of books and lets each class select the two they want to hear read to them in advance,” said FirstLine Schools Network Librarian Anna Gentry. “This year we also included a Halloween social/emotional learning story about a young boy whose dog has recently died, but comes back on Halloween night to help him out one last time. Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann explores friendship and loss through an accessible, sweet,  and spooky Halloween story,” she added. 

As FirstLine continues to cultivate a love of reading in our students we want to do so in spaces that are joyful and familiar. “A trip to the garden is always exciting for our students,” said Gentry. “A read-aloud in the garden ensures exercise, a fun conversation about reading, and a story to help students learn about themselves and the world around them. It is truly an activity that speaks to the whole child: mind, body, and spirit,” she added. 

Last year, Ashe was selected by LAPCS to receive a Little Free Library, which was placed in the garden. “We were really excited with the installation of the little free library last year,” said Ashe Lead Garden Educator Jenn Crawford. 

“A quote from a book 6th grade ELA classes are reading really highlights why literacy and the garden are designed to go hand in hand,” Crawford adds. “In the book Bud Not Buddy, Christopher Paul Curtis writes of the intention behind the protagonist’s name: ‘A bud is a flower-to-be. A flower-in-waiting. Waiting for just the right warmth and care to open up. It’s a little fist of love waiting to unfold and be seen by the world.’  This quote is a mirror of the spirit of the students at Ashe and highlights one of the many ways we at Ashe are one school on a mission.”

It’s our hope at FirstLine Schools that the outdoor reading space continues to inspire more reading. The goal is to have these autumn read-alouds annually, but long term we hope to provide a space where middle school students can come and enjoy reading their favorite books on their own, on beautiful fall days.