Dr. Michelle Richards promotes reading with Washington Primary School students every chance she gets. The principal pulled out every “trick” she could over the past three months during the COVID-19 pandemic and the period of distance learning to get the youngsters in her building to read every chance they get.
“Dr. Richards Reads” is by now well known among Washington students and parents. It’s an extension of the principal’s Book of the Month initiative.
Washington Primary School Principal Dr. Michelle J. Richards
“Initially, I would share one of my favorite books with the entire building once a month,” Dr. Richards said. “However, as we entered distance learning, I felt the need to extend this love of reading and actually demonstrate my love of books by reading to our ‘Washington Winners’ daily. Many of the titles selected are books I’ve shared throughout the years as a classroom teacher. For the most part all of the books have themes of diversity, equality, kindness and acceptance.”
An alert of a new “Dr. Richards Reads” posting was sent via an e-blast and e-mail every day. “We want to nurture our ‘Washington Winners’ to be global citizens who are accepting of everyone,” Dr. Richards said. “However, throughout this time I found texts that I’ve never read that piqued my interest. Many of the books I read during the past month were new reads for me.”
Students appeared to enjoy the new initiative. “Dr. Richards Reads has been well received by the children, parents and faculty of Washington Primary School,” the principal said. “With the current climate of our world community, I focused on books that will help our children understand what they are seeing on the news, social media and the community at large. These books help adults explain the complexities of our world in a child-centered manner. That is the beauty of quality texts. They give us a glimpse into the past, other cultures and various perspectives.”
Go to Dr. Richards’ e-board on www.hufsd.edu (e-boards are available off the QuickClicks dropdown menu under the heading For Students) to access all of the principal’s read-alouds.