HERSHEY, Pa. -- During National Literacy Month and throughout the year, Milton Hershey School® emphasizes the importance literacy plays in the lives of young people and their future success.
“With each word a child reads, they are gaining knowledge,” said Gail Rickard, MHS Library Media Specialist for Elementary Division. “A child who is literate is going to succeed.”
Studies show that students who read frequently tend to have higher vocabulary skills, increased success with spelling, and a deeper understanding of the world around them. Empowering young people to realize the benefits of reading is part of Milton Hershey School’s commitment to delivering a top-notch education to its more than 2,000 students from lower income families in pre-K through 12th grade.
Through programs designed to make reading fun, and the creativity of the school’s librarians and teachers, MHS students develop a lifelong appreciation for reading that serves them throughout their academic years and time in the workforce.
The school’s GO RED (Go Read Every Day) program ensures MHS students have access to quality books throughout the year to help them develop a reading routine and a love for books. In addition to making books available at all times in on-campus student homes, the school ships books to their off-campus homes so they can enjoy them over the summer—helping to prevent summer learning loss.
GO RED Night, an annual event where alumni return to campus to read to elementary students, brings the MHS community together to celebrate reading while alumni reconnect with the school that sparked their love for literature.
While the school has a state-of-the art library facility for each of its three scholastic divisions, its staff also provide experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom that reinforce and elaborate upon the stories students read. Librarians and teachers often collaborate with the school’s Agricultural and Environmental Education (AEE) program to bring books to life.
“When fourth-grade students read the historical novel “The Sign of the Beaver,” teachers extend the words on its pages beyond the classroom. The classes visit AEE and learn how to make apple cider as mentioned in the book,” said Rickard.
The school also utilizes technology to make reading more appealing. During October, the Elementary Division library is launching digital book trailers to entice young people to read. Using iPads the school provides, students can scan QR codes on book posters throughout the library to hear a recorded summary by a school librarian or classmate.
At MHS, instilling a love and respect for reading is part of the quality education it provides students, so they can go on to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
More information about MHS can be found at mhskids.org.