Reading is a part of every student’s life. Providence Academy has a special way of welcoming books and literature into the day-to-day structure of education for all branches of the school…

The lower school reading curriculum is structurally based and incorporates literature into topics that students cover in classroom lessons. Mrs. Beth Reopelle, a fifth-grade teacher, remarked, “Students study poems that complement history lessons and the time of the year”.  

For example, fifth grade students read Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” when covering the Civil War unit in history. 

Reopelle continued, “The vocabulary students learn also matches the literature text that is read throughout the year”.  Through this careful organization of learning, students gain an understanding of how to apply new words and use them in a conventional manner from an early age.  

Mr. Wagner reads a Halloween story to students in the Lower School Library last fall. (PAW photo credit Mrs. Erica Winegar)

The lower school library plays a substantial role in spreading the message of the importance of reading to young PA students. Mrs. Claire Commers, founding member of the PA faculty and Lower School librarian, meets with each Pre-Kindergarten through Fifth-Grade class once a week. She reflected on the structure of their meetings, “I welcome the students at the door and then we say a prayer. I always share a story that is either classroom curriculum or virtue-based”. Students also get to bring a book of their choice home to read. 

Commers added, “Books take you to different places. They introduce you to new cultures and keep your imagination running at a ten”.

The Library is a place where Lower School students can learn the love of reading through Commers’ kind and exemplary ways. She exhibits how reading can not only be a learning experience but opens your mind up to creativity. 

Books on display in the Lower School Library invite students to take a book home with them.

Although older students at PA engage in Literature in differing ways from the Lower School, reading is still an essential part of their education. Students study Classical Literature freshman year and continue with British Literature, American Literature, and Senior Seminar as they move into ascending grades. 

Mrs. Amelia Hejna, an Upper School English teacher, commented, “My favorite part of being an Upper School English teacher is having the luxury to talk with students about what is important to them”.  She continued, “Reading challenges us to mature and provides new perspectives”.

All students at PA invest in literature in varying ways, although one thing is consistent: the simple delight of reading is incorporated into everyone’s education. 

Commers shared a quote from English poet Walter de la Mare that bookends her philosophy in helping students of all ages develop a love of literature: “Only the rarest kind of best in anything can be good enough for the young”.