For seven years Susan Jardin has helped run Cragmont Elementary School’s Reading Railroad Program. Along with Literacy Coaches, trained volunteers like Susan train parent and Berkeley community volunteers to read one-on-one with students in need of extra support in the areas of comprehension, accuracy, fluency and phonetics. These are children for whom reading doesn’t come easy, and they want to keep students motivated to work in an area that is difficult for them, and to realize that reading books can be enjoyable and fun.
Earlier this year Susan met a local children’s book author, Joanne Rocklin, whose most recent book, One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street, was just coming out in print. She decided to use her book for her reading time in Ms. Giustino’s 2nd grade class. The students really fell in love with the book and Susan realized that it would be a great opportunity for them to meet and be able to discuss this book with the author.
In preparation for her visit, Ms. Giustino’s students created a miniature three dimensional neighborhood as well as individual depictions of the central character in her story, an orange tree growing on an empty lot on a street in Los Angeles. The students, all four 2nd grade classes, really benefited from meeting a real life author, learning about the process of writing a story, and getting to ask specific questions about the book or about being an author in general.