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Possible Is Knowing that Books and Reading Can and Do Change Lives

Two days ago, thousands of educators, parents, and students stood together in Albany to demand great schools for all children. The rally was part of the Don’t Steal Possible movement that has grown to include more than 80,000 New Yorkers. Success Academy families and staff members, including myself, attended the event and shared our vision of what is possible when adults work together to support all kids.

I thought I’d share my convictions of what is possible when a school develops a true love of reading across its entire community. I encourage you to add your thoughts and your own vision of what is possible in the comments section below.

Possible is teachers who have high expectations for their scholars and still are joyfully surprised at the insightful and witty things they say in response to what they’ve read.

Possible is knowing that both quality and quantity of books matter—and investing in both! At Success Academy, classroom libraries include thousands of hand-selected books.

Possible is sending every single scholar home with wonderful books to read every single evening (and extra books on long weekends and vacations!).

Possible is working with families so they can build a stronger reading culture in their homes and support their children’s growth as readers.

Possible is incorporating authentic reading experiences throughout the school day. Kids can read a variety of genres and formats with teacher support, as a whole class, in small groups, and independently—depending on their needs.

Possible is creating a “school within a library”—we have so many books throughout our schools that we hope scholars feel like they attend school IN a library! There are books and magazines in every room, providing learning, inspiration, and fun during science, art, blocks class. There are even great children’s books in the main office for visitors to enjoy.

Possible is SA Williamsburg principal Abigail Johnson taking a moment at the rally to tell me: “We were discussing what things were necessary to have a good school, and one of my third graders, Marysia, said, ‘Lots of lovely books.’”

Possible is SA Upper West scholar Susan Aufzien memorizing Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, reciting it for her fourth grade class, and visiting poet Elizabeth Alexander!

Possible is knowing that books and reading can and do change lives—and working every single day to share that power with thousands of New York City kids.


Written by Sara Yu March 6, 2015

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