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Welcome, everyone, to the next episode of Provo City School District’s “What’s Up With the Sup” podcast. I am Superintendent Wendy Dau. This week, I will be speaking with Ladale Tobler, a third grade teacher, and Olivia Guanuna, a sixth grade student, both from Amelia Earhart Elementary. We will be discussing the Amelia Earhart Literacy Community.
But first, here are our updates.
- The next school board meeting will be next week on Tuesday, September 12th. The study session will begin at 4:40 p.m. and will be held in Boardroom 1 at the district office. The business meeting will start at 7:00 p. m. and will be held in the professional development center at the district office. Both meetings are open to the public and the agendas will be published on Monday. You can look over those agenda items and if there’s anything that’s of interest to you, please make sure that you attend those meetings or watch on our YouTube channel.
- SEP conferences for secondary schools are coming up on September 19th through the 21st. .Look for more information from your student’s school.
- We invite everyone to the “Get the Scoop on CTE” event, Monday, September 25th from 5 to 8 p. m. at Provo High School. Learn about CTE pathways and future career opportunities. Plus, you get free ice cream. What could be better than that?
- If you qualify for free or reduced lunch, remember to send in your application.The deadline is September 28th, and yes, this process does need to be completed every year.
- The Foundation’s “Links for Kids” golf tournament will be held on September 28th. If you are interested in participating, please visit foundation.provo.edu.
- Continue to check your school’s website, calendar, and social media for important information and dates.
- And please remember to update your information in PowerSchool. This process also needs to be done annually as it allows the schools and the district to contact you with important information and in emergency situations.
- And stay tuned, weekly videocast will be coming from me on Friday.
Now to our Community Connections segment.
This week we do not have any new community questions, so if you have any topics or questions you would like us to discuss on the podcast, please email us at podcast@ provo.edu.
And now on to our podcast. My two guests today are both from Amelia Earhart Elementary. First, we have Ladale Tobler, a third grade teacher, and a sixth grade student, Olivia Guanuna. Both of them are going to talk with us today about the Earhart Literacy Community, which is a pretty exciting way for our students and our entire Amelia Earhart community to get excited about reading.
Wendy: Welcome to our show.
Ladale: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
Wendy: So, how long have you been at Amelia Earhart?
Ladale: This is my ninth year teaching here.
Wendy: Oh my goodness. And how many years have you been in teaching total?
Ladale: This is my 22nd year.
Wendy: Oh my goodness. So you know all about this. Like this is, this is old hat to you. This is good. Okay. I’m excited. Tell us a little bit about the Earhart Literacy Community.
Ladale: Well, we started the Earhart Literacy Community about eight years ago because we wanted to get good literature in the hands of our kids. And we wanted to provide an opportunity for students to be exposed to lots of different genres to help them find what they love about reading, and to make it fun and exciting. And we wanted to get everybody involved. Teachers, other staff at the school, parents, everybody to find their love of learning to read and enjoy being immersed in reading.
Wendy: That’s exciting. So tell me about some of those. What are some of the different types of genres that you have focused on?
Ladale: We have done biographies, fantasy, we’ve done history, chapter books, picture books – exposing all the kids to just about everything that there is.
Wendy: So just a wide range of things. So we make sure we’re including everybody in that.
I love that. That’s incredible. Okay, so what impact has the program had on students?
Ladale: My favorite part actually is the excitement when they know a launch is coming. So a launch is when we introduce a new book and my students will ask, like, when’s the next launch? When are we going to do this? When is this happening? And that’s my favorite part because they’re excited about it. They’re going to get a new book to read and the excitement that they have is my favorite part.
Wendy: So tell me about this launch. So kind of, kind of describe that for me. How often does it happen? What, what does that entail? It sounds very exciting.
Ladale: We have eight launches a year, so about every month. And it’s a new book for each launch. And the teachers are the ones who create the launches. And so they pick a book that they are fascinated with or have some kind of connection with, and then they introduce it in a way that gets the students excited. And there’s usually an activity that belongs with it. And then of course, the reading of the book.
Wendy: Does every class have a different book?
Ladale: There are two books that are the same. And then there’s – The rest of the books are lower grades K through three and upper grades four through six. And then we launch them every month and then twice a year we do what’s called a school wide challenge, which happens at the same time, K through six, and it gives them some kind of an activity to do where they have to delve into the books that they’ve been reading. And it’s different every year, so sometimes they have to solve a mystery, sometimes they’re looking for puzzle pieces. Sometimes, you know, just different things. Last year we created games about the classes and things like that.
Wendy: Oh, that sounds very exciting. So I see you have a student here. So can you introduce your student and tell us why you chose the student to talk with us about this experience?
Ladale: Yeah. So this is Olivia and she’s a sixth grader here and she’s been with us for a couple of years now, three years now, and just loves reading and was very excited to kind of share some of her thoughts.
Wendy: Perfect. All right. Well, welcome, Olivia. How are you doing today?
Olivia: I’m great. How are you?
Wendy: I’m super. I’m very excited to be here. Thank you for talking with us on the show today. Tell me a little bit about how school is going so far this year.
Olivia: School has been great. It’s kind of exciting to just see your new teachers, your new classmates, like explore your new grade that you’re in.
Wendy: So who’s your teacher this year?
Olivia: Mrs. Arnold.
Wendy: Okay, excellent. And things are going well with Mrs. Arnold’s class?
Wendy: Is there another teacher that you want to give a shout out to that you’ve had in the past?
Olivia:Both of my teachers have been amazing. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Meyer, and my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Nao, too. They have helped me with reading a lot, and it’s just, thank you.
Wendy: Oh, that’s great! I’d love to hear that. And it sounds like you are really, you’re a really passionate reader, too. Do you enjoy reading?
Olivia: Yeah, I enjoy reading a lot.
Wendy: You enjoy reading a lot? I love it. Okay, so tell me a little bit about yourself. Like, what’s your favorite thing in school? What do you like to do in your free time?
Olivia: I really like math and reading, of course. In my free time, I like drawing or just being outside.
Wendy: I love that you enjoy being outside. Um, how did you get involved in the Reading Society?
Olivia: Just from my teachers. And the launches, and what other students were doing, and what they’ve told me about past experiences with the community.
Wendy: And so, how has it helped you?
Olivia: It’s helped me become, like, a better reader, too, but it’s helped me explore different genres. Like, I only stuck to a certain kind of books, but the community introduced me to, like, newer things, and I love mostly all books now.
Wendy: That’s really great. What were kind of the books you were reading mostly before, and what genres have you added now?
Olivia: Um, I used to read just like a lot of historical fiction before.
Olivia: And I realized that it started to get boring. Like, I still love those kind of books, but the Earhart Community, it started to get me into like fantasy and more biographies about people.
Wendy: So definitely expanded what you were reading and so now, now you have a lot more variety. Okay. That’s great. So what have you learned from this process and from the launches and from all of this reading that you’ve been doing?
Olivia: I’ve learned a lot. Just like exploring new things, a new vocabulary too, it’s helped with that.
Wendy: Because you’ve just been exposed to different types of books and different types of storylines.
Wendy: That’s great. What’s been your favorite book so far?
Olivia: So my favorite chapter book so far has been The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise. It’s just been like a really heartfelt story about a girl trying to like basically chase her memories.
Wendy: Wow, that sounds pretty exciting. Is there another book you can tell us about some of your favorites in different genres?
Olivia: Yeah, um, so one of my favorite, like, absolute favorite picture books has been Shark Lady. It’s like a biography about a girl, since she was young, she’s just. loved and wanted to learn more about marine biology.
Olivia: So she eventually became a marine biologist and it’s just been really interesting.
Wendy: I really thought that book was about something different since it was called Shark Lady. I was like, wow, it could be a fantasy, it could be whatever. That’s a much better description. So good job. Okay. Any other books that you want to give a shout out to that you’re like, you guys need to read this book?
Olivia: Those are my two main favorites, but there’s been a lot more, like, there’s been one called Grumpy Monkey, and it’s like a monkey…
Wendy: Grumpy Monkey? Oh, I can think of a lot of people that need that book, maybe.
Olivia:Yeah, it’s just about a monkey who’s just grumpy. He hates the world. It’s just like the book slowly turns into him being happy.
Wendy: And so what causes him to be happy? Like, how does he figure that out?
Olivia: Like, other animals and seeing things more clearly.
Wendy: Okay, so he changes his perspective a little bit. Okay, that’s awesome. So what advice would you give to younger students who are just starting out reading or as they’re trying to develop their love of reading?
Olivia: You should just read whatever looks interesting to you, and then by reading the book, you can slowly figure out what you like. Just like what kind of books they’d be really interested in, and there’s a lot. There’s a wide variety,
Wendy: And I think we’re getting a lot better, too, about allowing kids to have a lot more choices in the types of books that they’re reading. I think when I was going to school, which was like a century ago, we just had chapter books and we didn’t have graphic novels. We didn’t have all of the choices that are available now. So I think it’s great that your teachers in this community are trying to get you to read lots of different types of books and recognizing that that’s really important. Do you feel like that has helped kids get more involved in reading because they get to pick genres that are something that they are really interested in?
Olivia: Yeah. With the challenges, you can answer questions about the books and you get pins for it too. So like, that inspires kids to do it more.
Wendy: Oh, that’s pretty exciting. Okay. So tell me a little bit more about that. Like what are some of the incentives that you get by participating in this that get you excited about reading?
Olivia: So you start off with the book launches. It’s like what the book’s going to be about. It doesn’t tell you anything. No spoilers about the book.
Olivia: It gives you a little activity to do that, what the book’s basically going to be about. And it gives like a little slideshow and it has like, a trailer maybe? A book trailer? I’ve seen some of those.
Wendy: Oh, so kind of like a movie trailer, but for a book?
Wendy: Very cool. Okay, so that gets you excited about the book. Then what else happens?
Olivia: If you read the books, you get pins from our librarian.
Olivia: So, and you can try to collect all the pins. That’s what I did last year.
Wendy: Okay, so you get a pin for each book. So if there’s eight launches, then I can get eight pins.
Wendy: Okay. That sounds very exciting. And do you guys have a lanyard you put them on or do you just get them and you can display them wherever you want?
Olivia: You can display them wherever you want. But the challenges is like one of the best parts.
Wendy: Okay, you got to tell me about the challenge. This sounds exciting.
Olivia: All right, so you do challenges. It’s twice a year and it’s about the books. So there was a book scavenger hunt one year.
Wendy: Ooh, that sounds exciting. Tell us about that.
Olivia: The entire school did it, even like lower grades did their portion and the upper grades did their portion. You started off with a clue. And then you had to go around to different teachers and they’d basically make you answer a question about some of the books. And then you get another clue and it eventually led to a treasure.
Wendy: Wow, that sounds exciting. What was in the treasure?
Olivia: Little prizes.
Wendy: And so does everybody get to participate in that or you just get to get to the treasure? You’re working on it individually?
Olivia: Everybody gets to participate. Like you can work with, in a group, you could work individually, or you can work with a partner. It doesn’t matter.
Wendy: Well, that sounds very exciting. So it’s getting everybody in the whole school involved in this process. Okay, we need to do this in upper grades or something, or maybe with adults. I don’t know because we need to get more excited about reading. I think I would read more if I had a scavenger hunt and there was a cool prize at the end. I think people could get behind that. Chick-fil-A sandwich. Maybe that would motivate me. I don’t know. So, probably. You think so?
Olivia: That’d be the perfect prize. Everybody wants to have a Chick-fil-A sandwich.
Wendy: I love it. Alright. Anything else you want to share about the Earhart Literacy community?
Olivia: I think it’s just been a great experience for me and books.
Wendy: That’s great.
Olivia:So, that’s all.
Wendy: Excellent, well thank you so much Olivia and Mrs. Tobler for being on our podcast this week. It’s been great to chat with you and I’m excited to hear about these book launches. So I hope you will keep in touch with me and let me know what books you’re doing as sixth grade and I would love to read along with all of you. I think that would be fantastic. So I hope you’ll let me know. All right. Have a great rest of your day.
Olivia: All right, you too.
Wendy: Thank you for joining me for this episode of What’s Up with the Sup. As always, all episodes will be posted on Spotify, YouTube, and the district website. If you have any topics or questions you would like to discuss on the podcast, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please don’t forget to join us for a special new episode next Friday, September 15th. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed a new law which states that the month of September is American Founders Month. This is in addition to Constitution Day, which has long been recognized on September 17th. I will be talking to Amanda Eskeets, a history teacher at Centennial Middle School, about the Constitution and how it is celebrated and taught in our schools. So join us next week. I look forward to it.