Follow Up: El Nido Elementary School

By Sharon Zinke

We began the year with a huge challenge ahead of us. We decided to focus on choice and access for this school year since there was a severe shortage of books and book access in the school and it seemed that the language arts period was much more focused on published lessons rather than BOOKJOY and encouraging lifelong readers.

Reader Agency, Identity, and Choice

When we started the year, “reading time” was regulated to instruction. Many students didn’t see themselves as readers, let alone readers with the power of choice and identity.

Now students are beyond excited about books, especially getting to choose their own. They are beginning to see themselves as readers and to define their reading interests. There is a new level of excitement about books at El Nido. Bring Me a Book in partnership with Bookelicious have been able to touch the students in every classroom in the school.

New School Library

Check out the new library! Everyone at the school is beyond excited about it!

I happened to catch the girls in a little group among the shelves sharing with each other what they love about their favorite author:

Merced Public Library

Connecting with Merced Public Library started out as a big excitement. However, it didn’t turn out quite as planned. The students all got library cards but the Bookmobile never was set up. I had thought it was happening but when I asked how it was going at the end of April, Lori said she had reached out to Amy (the wonderful librarian in Merced) about returning the shelving and about the Bookmobile and communication between them was interrupted by the many obligations they each had to deal with this year.

Now we have some good news! The Bookmobile will be set up for this summer (yay!!) and for the beginning of the next school year. Even though El Nido students didn’t have easy access to the public library this year, they have been beside themselves with excitement about their own school and classroom libraries.

Two Brand-new Excited, Committed Teachers

Ana Vega-Torrez is a 5th grade teacher and is teaching her first year at El Nido Elementary school. She is a graduate of CSU Stanislaus and Merced Jr. College. Ana is excited and thrilled to begin her teaching career. She wants to make a difference within her own classroom and provide the best quality instruction her students deserve. Ana holds a special place in her heart for reading and wants the same for her students.

Mayra Vega is a 2nd grade teacher and is teaching her first year at El Nido Elementary school. Mayra is an alumni student from El Nido Elementary School. Being able to teach and give back to the El Nido community is a huge accomplishment for Mayra. Mayra truly wants to make a difference within her community. Her overall goal is to enrich and improve her student’s reading fluency, comprehension, and stamina.

Some sparkly moments Ana and Mayra have observed in their classrooms this year:

Yaz was showing one of her books that she found really interesting and while that conversation was happening Heriberto overheard and made sure to tell her that there is a second book for that series. He also offered to show her it when we visit the library next week.

Jazmin lost her father a couple of years ago and she found a main character was her same age and lost her father as well. I could see how much she related to the book and valued it.

I also have many students that love to write their own stories and I have one student in particular, David Frisbee, who has already been writing his own books. He even loans them out for students to take turns reading his books. He loves writing them and sharing his passion.

Ana, 5th grade

Each morning I read with two small groups. My first small group reads “Frog and Toad”. Camilo has improved his fluency so much by reading Frog and Toad that he now races Cristian when reading together. I love that Camilo now feels confident with this reading and volunteers to read pages alone. My second group reads “Small Pig”. Aylin has also improved her reading fluency. Alyin is very kind and helps the other group members read by modeling how to sound out a word.

Today we went to the library, and Aylin checked out “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss. As Aylin was reading independently she came up to me and pointed out the words ‘here’ and ‘fear.’ Aylin mentioned to me that both words rhyme because they have the ear spelling pattern. I was delighted to hear her explanation since we learned this spelling pattern last week.

Mayra, 2nd grade

Thrilled About Books at El Nido

Winter break was approaching. Mayra and Ana were hoping their orders would reach them in time for their students to get their two wishlist books before leaving for winter break. The books arrived for the second-grade class just in time!

Watch the response below!

After the second book delivery everyone was doubly excited about books!

Fifth-graders were excited to show me their books and their book recommendations.

These girls were beside themselves they were so excited about sharing author Svetlana Chmakova! They wanted to stand in their new library and share on video:

Matthew Golub, children’s book author

On March 3 Matthew Golub worked his magic performing assemblies for all the grade levels, sharing his stories with music, drumming, and amazing animated voices. 100% engagement all day long! Mayra talked with her students about reading with those voices and sounds to their younger siblings.

A Special Donor

My nephew, Alan Becker, and his wife Kaori, made a $3000 donation to BMAB so that ALL students at El Nido could have two books of their own from their Bookelicious Wishlists.

© 2022 Sharon Zinke