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Weekly Challenge for EnviroEd # 38: A Forest of Reading

June 10, 2014

The nice weather is upon us in this hemisphere. Winter has given up its grip and no one is even fearful of those occasional may frosts at this time any longer.

So many classes are spending more time out doors and it is a beautiful time to be doing this.

With the school year winding down the opportunity for less formal lessons and time outdoors is just begging for attention.

A few weeks ago the weekly challenge was focussed on having a picnic as a class and if the weather did not lend itself to the challenge then, this just may be the week to do that now.

As well this week I suggest you take the time as a class to read outdoors. Step beyond the desks and let the students sit upon their favourite reflective spot log, or by the creek, or spread their legs out upon the cool grass beneath a tree and dive within the pages of a book.

Read as a class, read by themselves, or when working with their reading buddies have them both sit with their backs against that favourite tree to enjoy the story within.

This is not only a challenge for younger grades but also for older grades as well. Recently, at one of our nature centres we had a number of Gr 10 English classes out to partake in our Bushcraft program where they build shelters, work in small groups to “survive” in the wild and eat around a campfire. While in itself this is an excellent opportunity not enough kids get these days, the students had a great discussion about “Lord of the Flies” as they sat around the fire. What better place is there is debrief the decisions and the impact of those decisions of Ralph and the others?

And, knowing that final tests and even exams are only days away for some, I might suggest even review of chapters within the pages of a textbook or peer reports have the ability to not only be seen in a new (and perhaps tree canopy filtered) light.

It seems like an excellent way to encourage summer literacy by ending the year with the practice of reading in the great outdoors. Perhaps even a suggested reading list as a class.

Give it a try and let me know the results!

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