Book dress encourages reading at El Verano
Every morning, while El Verano Elementary School students attend morning recess, Academic Coordinator Diane Dalenberg walks the playground wearing a book dress filled with free titles for the children to take home. She has been referred to as the “Book Lady” or the “Book Fairy” by some students, and while students select a book, she studies what motivates them to pick a particular title and engages in mini-book talks. Dalenberg is a veteran teacher who came up with this idea a year-and-a-half ago when she began her master’s degree in teaching reading. “It is so rewarding to see the kids excited about books, and at first they couldn’t believe they could actually keep and take home a book everyday,” she said. “Unfortunately, I never have enough books to keep the dress and the mini-library in the school office fully stocked.” Her goal is to increase access to books and to help children start their own home libraries because this has been known to greatly increase reading motivation and engagement. Dalenberg also noted that some students find it challenging to access the school or public library system when there are specific due dates and late fines imposed, so she hopes to eliminate this barrier by providing free books. Anyone in the community interested in donating books appropriate for grades K-5 can drop them off at the El Verano school office. Pictured left to right are: Adriel Velazquez (first grade), Alex Gomez Guillen (kindergartem), Dalenberg, Alexander Davidson (second grade), Codi Anderson (fourth grade).