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Christian Book Fair promotes reading

Imagine, standing in front of a castle in a beautiful gown. After hours of primping, the princess is ready. The sound of a galloping horse coming down the road engulfs the air and Prince Charming arrives. Later Prince and the Princess ride off into the sunset.

Or, imagine training all season to earn a spot on a professional football team. The football player has been waiting a lifetime for this chance and now it has become a reality. All the long hours, hard workouts and late practices have all come down to this moment; it was all worth it.

These scenarios can be enhanced through the power of reading. Lifelong dreams can become a certainty through daily reading. Traveling all over the world, discovering an unknown creature, or building a vocabulary for a SAT test can be possible through a good book. One of the best weapons against illiteracy is regularly reading.

A recent study at Rialto Unified School District in San Bernardino shows that their students reach the climax of their reading capability at the end of their elementary school years, and begin to plummet, as they move from junior high to high school. (www.schoolmatch.com).

Some students on campus are not to keen on reading or think it is a waste of time. But there are the others who love to read and cannot wait to be supplied with new literature.

In an informal poll on campus, 40 out of 50 respondents said, “Yes, I like to read.” Some of the more popular books were: The Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter and Star Wars. However some students said that they did not read unless it was a school assignment and, even then, that was a stretch.

In the past, high school teachers have focused more on English grammar, and literature. Due to recent scores, Rialto schools are trying to advert their attention back to the basics of reading. The study showed that reading development is highest in grades 6 and 9 for students whose resident language is English. The study showed a substantial decrease in reading skill in grades 9 and 10.

“Our high school principals want to learn how to channel students interests so that they can balance their social activities with their studies,” Michael Brown, the Rialto Unified School District’s assistant superintendent said. “Some of their energies may be directed in grades 9 and 10 to other interests. Social relationships, stresses, and extra-curricular activities preoccupy their time, and academic interests come in third.”

The Rialto school administration believes that part of the reason for the reduction in the area of reading skills in high school students, is the incapability to decipher literature. However, there has been no such survey on the FCHS campus.

“In high school, there is less instruction on learning to read, and more emphasis on literature and the use of English analysis, comprehension and research,” Brown said.
As part of Reading Emphasis Week, Fresno Christian hosted a Christian Book Fair on Oct. 7-11. It was open to all ages and had all different styles of books. Lin Brown, librarian, has assisted for the past two fairs. The Christian Fair comes every other year and offers a wide range literature every year, according to Brown and student opinion.

“This fair has always been successful,” Brown said. “I think that it is beneficial for the students, because it gives them a good opportunity to take a close look at Christian emphasis material at a good price.”

“The fair had types of books for everyone mostly emphasizing children literature,” Sarah Damm, ’03, said. “I think that this fair is a good idea because it gives students a chance to be exposed to different kinds of literature. I think it is an enjoyable experience for kids.”

According to Brown, the fair was beneficial to anyone who came in looking for a good book to read. “Your age does not matter, you will find something of your interest.”

Even though there are many choices, many students believe that this fair is designed mostly for little kids.

“Most of the books were for little kids and did not really interest me,” Matt Brouwer, ’06, said. “I can see that it gives the kids a good chance to be encouraged to read and excel in school. So in all, I think this fair on our campus was a good idea.”

Along with the students who voluntarily attended the book fair, some were conveniently located in a study hall class. They were afforded the time to take an inside peek at the book fair behind the scene.

“There were a lot of books for different ages,” Kristy Howard, ’04, said. “It is a good idea because it stresses reading for all ages to boost the kids self-esteem in school.”

Another study hall member who attended the fair during his period in the library was Nate King, ’05.

“I enjoyed this fair, but most of the books were kids fiction, fairy tales, and magazines,” King said. “It seemed to inspire the little kids to read because of the great selections of books. It was a really cool to witness.”

Throughout the week students attended the fair, and many picked up new books that were not usually available in the everyday library material.

“This Christian fair is beneficial for our campus because it gives a strong hold to students’ faith, when they are supplied with books that deepen their beliefs,” Lindsey Martens, ’05, said.

“Reading is beneficial for students because it increases their vocabulary and they can find a greater command of the language after seeing words used in powerful ways,” Tom McEntee said. “It is impossible to read and lead a sheltered life.”

The library continues to be open for students to browse for research, novels, and general interest magazines. The library is open daily from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. For more information on the research studies of high school students reading scores, visit www.schoolmatch.com.

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