Blankets. Pajamas. Doughnuts. Hot chocolate. And three hours of relaxed reading. For many people, including myself, this sounds like the perfect morning. On October 9, 46 students gathered in the library for this wonderful start to the day, the Read-In, instead of going to their normal classes. This is one of the many library events at Franklin High School (FHS) put on by Sandra Childs, the FHS Media Specialist.
Jackson Thomas (9) described the atmosphere as being calm. “You could definitely tell that everybody there wanted to be there,” he said. Childs agreed that there was a certain focused energy for these special three hours. “This year, I have to say, people settled in quicker than I’ve ever seen. Usually there’s some tittering and giggling and people are just happy to be with their buddies, and this year people were seriously into the reading,” she said. This is obvious in the grand total of pages read: 5,511.
For many high schoolers, long school days and distracting phones make it hard to find time for free reading. The Read-In is the perfect antidote. One student at the Read-In, Eva Esbensen (10) said, “It’s an easy way to actually be able to read and not get distracted by homework or pets or younger siblings.”
Students may not realize how much effort the library staff, especially Childs, put into hosting the Read-In. This is Childs’ sixth year as the FHS librarian and sixth year hosting the Read-In. “It’s a lot of work,” she said. First is promotion, which occurs through many different media: Instagram, Facebook, the FHS newsletter, and giving information to teachers. Next is sending notices to students to remind them when the event is. Finally, Childs picks up doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnut, moves furniture in the library, preps snacks, mixes juice, and brings blankets, pillows, and mugs.
Through a parent connection, Voodoo Doughnut donated to the Read-In. These decadent doughnuts were the favorite snack of Naia Drozdov (10). Childs cut them up into pieces so we weren’t limited to only one flavor. “I think one was a normal glazed one, one was glazed and had sprinkles, and the other was chocolate with coconut flakes,” Drozdov said.
I was surprised to learn that one year she hosted a spring Read-In in addition to the one in the fall. She finds that classes are busier in the spring, so fewer students can attend, and the poetry slam means that it’s also an extra busy time for Childs, so one a year is enough.
As a junior, it was very clear to me that I was older than most in attendance. “It’s mostly freshmen, I think because freshmen are the ones who feel like they can skip class,” Childs said.
Though the Read-In may seem fluffy at face value, Childs has a purpose in mind beyond the fun morning that it is. She said, “I do feel like the folks at the Read-In are in some way reading ambassadors, and I really feel that the more other kids see kids enjoying reading, [the more] they might remember that.” Childs hopes that the Read-In reminds all FHS students, not just those at the Read-In, of the joys of reading for fun.