Gator Run Students Share Love of Reading

Students at Gator Run Elementary School have always been encouraged to read for pleasure and share their favorite stories with classmates. This year’s introduction of Beanstack is making that even easier.

“Beanstack is a digital book logging program that helps our students remember the books that they have read so that they can easily recommend them to friends,” explains Media Specialist Elayne Hollander, noting that students will be able to add to their list each year. “It helps to promote literacy by encouraging conversations about books and promoting positive feelings about reading.”

All Gator Run students are using the program, as are students at all Broward County elementary schools. It’s particularly helpful for the county-wide Reading Across Broward challenge, which allows students to earn badges and certificates based on the number of books read. Beanstack, itself, also offers incentives.

“This program helps students talk about books by giving them a space to keep a list of the books they’ve read, and a place to have their voice heard by writing reviews,” explains Ms. Hollander. “Beanstack also offers the incentive of badges and certificates so that students can be proud of the numbers of books they’ve read.”

Ms. Hollander says reading for pleasure has many benefits for children both in and out of the classroom. “Academically, students that enjoy reading have better vocabulary, better spelling, better problem-solving skills, and are overall better readers. In general, they have positive feelings about learning. Socially, these students show more empathy and creativity.”

Beanstack is just one of many programs in place at Gator Run to promote the importance and joy of reading. “In every classroom, teachers encourage reading and discussing books. Some classes are using Flipgrid for this, a program that allows students to share their voice with a video answering a question about the book. Other students watch that video and give them likes and/or video responses,” explains Ms. Hollander. “Each room has a Bingo Board displayed where students are trying to read certain types of books. They note the book that was read, sparking conversations. For example, if a student writes that they have ready Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson as ‘A Book That Takes Place In Florida,’ other people become interested, ask about the story, and often look for it in the media center.”

Ms. Hollander says the love of reading is infectious. “Students are excitedly giving book recommendations all over the school – to their friends, to their teachers, even to the whole school if they open our school day on the intercom with Principal Peters. Amazing reading conversations are happening throughout our school.”