You are your most valuable asset. Don’t forget that. You are the best thing you have.
– Gary Paulsen, Hatchet
Besides space, what else do you need when putting together a reading lounge? You need resources and a lot of elbow grease. Our plan was to remove everything from the pods, paint the walls, and put in new furniture so kids can read and lounge. Here is a list of things on our original list.
Early in the process, we met with IKEA of West Sacramento and they jumped on board with the idea of making reading lounges. They donated their time in helping design 4 of the 8 lounges. Each lounge had its own book theme and our design specialist and school staff did a great job collaborating on what these rooms would eventually look like. IKEA also committed to furnishing the first two reading lounges! Our first room would be the Hatchet Room in the 5th grade pod. Hatchet is a novel written by Gary Paulsen. It is a survival story about a teenager lost in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. Here are some of the design ideas:
Orchard Supply Hardware of Antelope has always been a great neighbor. They will do anything for neighborhood schools so when we let them know of our project, they donated all the paint and painting materials and supplies. Here’s a picture of Missy from Orchard Supply Harward and one of our 5th grade teachers, Karina Almanza. After several hours of mixing paint and gathering supplies, we were on our way to transforming the pod!
After clearing out the room, our 5th grade teachers started painting the walls! This process took them much of a Saturday morning. Who spends their Saturday morning at school painting? Our teachers do!
After the walls were painted, IKEA delivered the furniture! Have you ever put IKEA furniture together?! There’s a skill set required and we were lucky to have some parents and friends help out. These 2 guys spent an afternoon putting together a bookcase, chairs, tables, and a sofa. There’s some serious elbow grease involved!
In the meantime, each reading lounge needed books and teachers were putting in orders to fill the bookcases. We can’t have reading lounges without awesome books for kids to read! Working with Scholastic Books, we have spent the last few months processing new books for the reading lounges. In the end, we will have added about 7,000 new books to our school using state and federal funds. We had to inventory and tag each book. Each reading lounge had its own color label on each book- this way, we would be able to keep track of lost books and determine where they belonged. Luckily, we had a lot of students volunteer to help tag books during their recesses and lunch breaks.
We are putting on the finishing touches to the Hatchet Reading Lounge…to be continued!