Third Graders Read Together: Fostering a lifelong love of reading

Third grade represents an important point in a child’s education as students shift from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Interventions for struggling readers after this point are seldom as effective as those in the early years. Since 2013, Sno-Isle Libraries has partnered with schools to support this important milestone.

Third Graders Read Together utilizes books from the Washington Library Association’s OTTER Award. The OTTER Award motto is “books kids like, not books adults think kids should like.” Thanks to support provided by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, the program provided 2,440 OTTER books to schools and classrooms throughout the region.

Participants also had an opportunity to vote for their favorite book and the winning book is “The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem” by Jarrett Lerner.

“Thank you for this program! It was wonderful to see the kids so excited about reading all of the books. Earning the stickers on the bookmark was a great motivator!” said a teacher from Cedarhome Elementary School.  To support the program’s success, Sno-Isle Libraries also created a Teacher’s Guide with vocabulary words, discussion questions, and reading recommendations.

Sno-Isle Libraries hosted two online author and illustrator events in association with this year’s program, which were enjoyed by an estimated 800 students. Anoosha Syed, the illustrator of “Monster and Boy” was one of the featured speakers. The other was Jonathan Messenger, author of “The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian.”

In the decade since its creation, the program has grown from 29 schools to 65 schools with an estimated 4,200 third graders participating this year. “We had a blast with the read-together program. The kids loved this,” said one South Whidbey elementary school librarian.