This school year there will be a fresh face in front of a Half Moon Bay High School white board as Molly Schauer takes her place on the teaching staff for the first time.
Although she has yet to see the inside of her classroom, she has already hit the ground running and is laying the groundwork for a silent reading program.
“The silent sustained reading program is where I will set aside 20 minutes, once or twice a week, where students can read what they want to read,” said Schauer. “Reading for pleasure will not only help to improve reading comprehension skills, it will also help improve the student’s writing style and grammar while building their vocabulary.”
Schauer, who will be teaching two sections of freshman English as well as English language development, thinks that, given the academic pressures, many students no longer read for enjoyment. She hopes that she will be able to change that.
“With silent sustained reading, there’s an element of choice that students need to enjoy the process,” she said. “They will be building the skills I want them to have while building the enjoyment of reading. I also hope that 20 minutes of quiet time will help ground them for the rest of the day.”
In order to get this new program off the ground, Schauer is looking to build her library of young adult books.
“I have about 100 books from my own personal collection that I’ve purchased,” said Schauer. “They slowly, over the course of the years, tend to disappear.”
Recently Schauer put out a call to action on Nextdoor, requesting that anyone with books to donate get in touch with her. She said that her readers tend to gravitate toward dystopian books like “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent Series” and “The Giver.”
“I think the reason my students tend to like dystopian works is that not only does it allow their imagination to go to work, they are also seeing some of that in the real world with the technology,” Schauer said. “I enjoy teaching books like ‘1984’ in the classroom. They connect with that as well because they learn a little bit more about reality, specifically that you’re not always going to be 100 percent satisfied with everything in your life.”
Schauer also stated that her students would enjoy reading Harry Potter, “The Book Thief,” “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian,” and anything by John Green.
Anyone wishing to donate books to help populate the shelves of Schauer’s silent sustained reading program should email email@example.com.