Inclusive Community Read Program in Full Swing at Clara H. Carlson
Clara H. Carlson School students in grades K-6, both in-person and virtual learners, are all participating in the school’s Inclusive Community Read Program. Now in its fourth year, it is facilitated by third grade teacher Nicole McDonough, sixth grade teacher Jessica Trione and school librarian Mary Thomson.
The program, which is offered in all six buildings in the Elmont Union Free School District, aims to promote inclusivity and kindness. McDonough, Thomson and Trione have chosen five books for Carlson students to read throughout the school year, starting with “The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family.”
Through the program, each class is tasked with reading the selected stories and then completing different projects based on grade level. The projects are then displayed on a designated bulletin board in the school hallway. For the virtual students, digital copies of all the books are available on the school website. They are also able to participate in sharing their completed book-related projects through the Seesaw app. After reading “The Proudest Blue,” some of the projects included kindergarten and first graders drawing a picture of and writing about someone in their life with whom they have a special bond, and fifth and sixth graders participated in an “I Am Proud to Be” project, where they wrote three positive affirmations about themselves, such as “I love myself for my heart that is as big as the ocean” and “I love myself because I’m a proud Muslim American.”
The books, which are typically written from the point of view of a child, are strategically chosen to represent what might be going on in and outside the classroom. “The Proudest Blue” was selected as the first book of the school year at Carlson since it touched upon feeling nervous on the first day of school, as well as encouraged embracing one’s unique culture and individuality.
Assistant Principal Richard Mansfield served on the districtwide committee that selected the 20 books for the Inclusive Community Read Program. Each building was able to choose five books from that curated list. The next book at Carlson will be “I Am Enough,” which aims to inspire the reader to love who they are, respect others and be kind.