Student R & R: reading relaxation Anne Arundel youths take up books as recess

August 25, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Monday recess at Brooklyn Park Elementary in Anne Arundel County will be devoid of the usual kickball, soccer, jump rope, catch and climbing the monkey bars.

Instead of stretching their muscles, youngsters will take a 25-minute break with books as part of the "reading relaxation recess" program.

Teachers in first through sixth grades at the Anne Arundel County school will break the news to their charges tomorrow when they return to class.

"It's going to be a little bit of a hard-sell," reading teacher Kathy Fieldhouse said, adding that teachers "think it's a good idea."

"It's a different philosophy. It's a different approach to recess activity and to leisure reading," said Principal Michael E. Trippett. "It's a break from traditional recess, and we expect a lot of people to be anxious and curious."

Parents will learn about the new program in the first issue of the school's newsletter.

The idea, which is Trippett's, is a spinoff of another reading program the school has been conducting for several years. During the last period on Fridays, students and teachers would drop whatever they were doing and read for 20 minutes.

The drop-and-read program was a good idea, Trippett said, but it disrupted social science, math, music and other classes.

"I believe it is extremely important to do that, but at the same time we can't keep adding programs and taking away from others," he said.

FTC He decided to address that problem by having students read during Monday recess. He pitched the idea to staff members, who gave it their blessing Wednesday.

"We do this on Mondays so it sets the tone for the rest of the week," Trippett said. "What better place to illustrate reading as leisure than at recess?"

The youngsters still will have the other days of the week for play.

The goal of the reading program is is to teach children that reading is an enjoyable leisure activity and to give them additional reading practice and a sense of structure, Trippett said.

Children can bring books from home, check one out of the school library or from their classroom library. They can play reading games, act out stories, listen to books on tapes and have guest readers.

To help guide first-graders into the program, Trippett said, older children will read to them.

"It's going to be something that will reach all levels of reading," he said. Youngsters can read in their classrooms or stretch out on pillows on carpeted floors. And when the weather is good, they can go outside with their teacher to read under a tree.

Fieldhouse said parents often ask what they can do at home to help their children become better readers. Her response is simple: "Kids become better readers by reading more."

Pub Date: 8/25/96

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