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The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

Smoky Now

The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

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Cherry Creek Reads Week 2024

Cherry Creek Reads Week is coming to Smoky from Mar. 11-15
2 of the selected featured books for Cherry Creek Reads written by Zaila Avant-garde

The Cherry Creek School District is now having its 6th year of ‘Cherry Creek Reads’ and is now coming to Smoky.

Librarian Kyle Harmon said, “Reads week is a celebration of joy of reading across the district.”

Reads Week is a celebration of reading that brings the community together around a shared text.

Jennifer Radosevich, another librarian at Smoky said, “So next week is Cherry Creek Reads and so we’ve asked teachers to fill out sheets that show like what they’re reading, what they have read and what they’re reading next [and] what they’re currently reading. We also have a guest author that’s coming next week, virtually sadly, because she had a family emergency but her name is Renee Watson and she’s talking about her new book, which is called ‘Black Girl Your Atlas’ and it’s also autobiographical but it’s poetry and so she’s going to make a virtual visit as a part of World Awareness.”

Teachers will share what they’re reading, and a guest author, Renee Watson, will talk about her newly anticipated autobiographical book, “Black Girl Your Atlas” told in poetry.

“I think that they’ve done a really nice job of choosing books that are really accessible to all types of readers whether it’s interest or ability. So this year we have a picture book which is really gorgeous but also a middle and high-grade book for older readers that’s by the same author. And also this year, the author is a young person herself, I don’t think she’s yet 20, I think she’s still a teenager. So it’s a really cool story of her life and just her accomplishments at a young age, so I think she’s really relatable,” Radosevich said.

Radosevich believes the books chosen are good for everyone to read because they match different interests and abilities. 

Junior Jordan Durham, a member of the book club at Smoky said, “I’d say E. M. Forster he’s a classics author, [and] Kate DiCamillo. She wrote things like ‘Because of Winn Dixie’ and ‘Edward Tulane’, this one book I read a lot. I don’t know I just feel like it’s more whimsical and fun writing that makes me want to read and inspires me to read more. As well as just like, more like using the real world and expanding upon that rather than making a whole new world in general.”

Jordan Durham shares their favorite authors and what inspires them to read.

“It brings the district together under one reading initiative and with district goals around reading, [it] can bring everybody together to celebrate reading, no matter what you read, how you read, and we have a fabulous author this year, Zaila Avant-Garde,” Harmon said.

Harmon said that having a reading initiative brings everyone in the district together to celebrate reading, no matter the book or method in reading

“Well, I think it depends on how actively students participate, right, like all we can do as librarians and as teachers is to try to bring awareness and excitement and make some titles accessible, but it’s really up to students if they participate,” Radosevich said, “And it doesn’t really matter to us what you read, it matters that you read. So if you don’t like our choice of books, that’s totally cool. You could read something else but I think it’s really important to read and we try to show that reading doesn’t have to be boring. It can be cool. It can be fun, and it can be interesting.”

It’s important for students to read, and she wants to make reading fun and interesting for everyone, even if they don’t like the books that are picked during the week.

“I think it will because I think it’ll give me more of a reason to kind of sit down and read because I more read as a hobby. I find myself kind of disregarding and putting it off more often than not, so I feel like it gives me a good reason to just actually sit and read,” Durham said.

Durham shares her struggle to prioritize reading as a hobby amidst other activities and responsibilities and feels Reads Week would give her a good opportunity to focus on the task at hand– reading.

“We’re seeing a drop in reading scores and I think reading is one of those things that if you can do it, well, you can do anything. You can learn anything and if you can’t do it, well, it just limits a lot of options. And one of my biggest desires and my number one reason for being an educator is to make sure students have options and I think reading is the one thing that gives you more options,” Radosevich said.

Reading helps people learn new things, and if you can read well, you can do anything.

Jordan shares, “Well, academically I feel like it definitely increases your vocabulary and helps you with more knowledge, you know, you can’t really know things without reading them. And personally, it’s like, reading is very much a way to easily imagine things and just kind of take yourself out of monotonous life for a little while so it can really help you just wind down and relax and just kind of separate yourself from stressors.”

Reading helps improve vocabulary and knowledge, and it’s also a fun way to imagine things and relax from everyday stress that students may face.

Harmon also said, “It brings the community and students and parents and faculty together around the joy of reading one text, that it’s the same across all of our buildings. And then we can take that text and then tailor it to the grade level to our students to their needs and just read.”

Reading the same book as a community helps everyone feel connected, and teachers can adjust the book to fit each student’s grade level and interests.

As Cherry Creek Reads Week comes up, students and teachers are anticipated to partake in an educational yet exciting opportunity for the school.

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