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Ticonderoga classroom reading lounge grows

IP Foundation grant adds 350 new books

The Ticonderoga Middle School Reading/Literacy Lounge has been re-stocked thanks to a grant. Showing some of the new books are Bryce Gautreau, Russell Gallo III, Emily Purkey and Katie Shelmidine.

The Ticonderoga Middle School Reading/Literacy Lounge has been re-stocked thanks to a grant. Showing some of the new books are Bryce Gautreau, Russell Gallo III, Emily Purkey and Katie Shelmidine.

— The Ticonderoga Middle School Reading/Literacy Lounge has been re-stocked thanks to a grant.

The International Paper Co. Foundation awarded a $2,250 grant to the school, which was used to purchase 350 new books. The reading/literacy lounge now has more than 700 titles.

“My goal is to create habitual, critical, joyous readers,” Kyle Lang, seventh grade English teacher, said. “We’ve been able to create a library here that entails the classics as well as high-interest books that kids can read for fun. I want to create readers for life.”

The Ticonderoga Middle School Reading/Literacy Lounge is separate from the school library, It’s housed in Lang’s classroom and provides students with easy access to reading material in a casual setting.

“The school library is wonderful and very important to our students; it can get books I can’t,” Lang said. “It’s important to have book at ‘home,’ so to speak. I want students to be able to relax in the classroom and browse through the books. I want them to feel free to pick up any book and read.

“Independent reading is a pillar in my classroom,” he said. “These kids read anywhere from 20 to 100 books a year.”

Lang established the Ticonderoga Middle School Reading/Literacy Lounge in 2007 using other grants, including one from IP.

“Our (classroom) library was starting to show its age; the wear and tear was taking a toll on the books,” Lang said. “I decided to submit the IP grant and they approved it. I’m very thankful.”

Lang noted the assistance of International Paper’s Donna Wadsworth and Jane Kuhl.

The Ticonderoga Middle School Reading/Literacy Lounge has as many as three copies of several popular books. Lang said that allows students to discuss their reading with each other.

“I want more than readers, I want thinkers,” the teacher said. “I want them to talk about the books they read.”

And write.

“The kids write about the books, too,” Lang said. “They write literary essays disguised as letters to me. We write back-and-forth discussing the books. I want them to become experts on the books they read.”

School can be viewed as work, Lang said, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

“It may be the work we’re doing, but it can be a fun activity,” he said. “If it’s fun they’ll read more. That’s the goal.”

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