Since 2008, Island Readers & Writers has hosted an annual Island-wide Read with middle schoolers from all Mount Desert Island Regional School System schools (Cranberry Isles, Conners Emerson Elementary, Frenchboro School, Mount Desert Elementary School, Pemetic Elementary School, Swan’s Island Elementary School, Tremont Elementary School and Trenton Elementary School).
This program has evolved over the years, and now its current iteration sees all MDI seventh graders participating in activities and small group discussions around a common book during a half-day at Camp Beech Cliff in Mount Desert. The author is on-hand for a presentation on his or her book and a Q&A session. Of course, each seventh grader goes home with a personally-inscribed copy of their book.
Books are distributed at the beginning of the school year and prior to the event, ELA teachers lead their students in classroom discussion and guide projects inspired by that year’s book. In pairs or small groups, the kids create impressive book trailers with often humorous takes on the book’s themes, which are then premiered in front of a big audience at Camp Beech Cliff.
Another component of the Island-wide Read is the group of community facilitators involved in leading discussions. Kids are mixed into small groups with their peers from different schools and a volunteer from the community guides them through the morning. Each facilitator has read the book, thought of engaging questions to pose and is well-prepared to help lead a vibrant discussion. We’ve had volunteers representing all corners of the MDI community, from town officials, retired teachers, folks from Friends of Acadia, College of the Atlantic, Jesup Memorial Library, The First National Bank, Camp Beech Cliff, Barn Arts Collective, MDI Historical Society, Bar Harbor Food Pantry and many more. We hope the presence of these engaged, book-loving adults will inspire a lifelong passion for reading.
Early on, the Island-wide Read rotated between sixth, seventh and eighth grades depending on the year and book selected, and held alternately at MDI High School, College of the Atlantic and Mount Desert Elementary School in either the spring or fall. Starting in 2017, IRW and MDIRSS determined that this event would be most beneficial to seventh graders and to have it at beautiful Camp Beech Cliff in October is a wonderful opportunity to get the kids out of the classroom for an activity-filled, book-centered morning!
Follow the links to read more:
2018 7th Grade Read: “Navigating Early” by Clare Vanderpool
2017 7th Grade Read: “Wolf Hollow” by Lauren Wolk
2015 8th Grade Read: “Trouble” by Gary Schmidt
2013 6th Grade Read: “Small As an Elephant” by Jennifer Jacobson
2012 7th Grade Read: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
2011 8th Grade Read: “Trouble” by Gary Schmidt
2010 6th Grade Read: “Rules” by Cynthia Lord
2008 7th Grade Read: “The Runner” and “Solitary Blue” by Cynthia Voigt