The joy of reading is alive throughout all lower-division classrooms at Stevenson. Any day, you will find students reading all over campus, skipping to the cottage library searching for a new book, or engaging in a discussion over a classroom novel. Stevenson students see themselves as readers and believe reading opens a world full of dreams and possibilities.  

Literacy development begins in the early years with a holistic approach that involves cultivating joy, providing readers with captivating and accessible books, and integrating instruction based on the science of reading. 

Passion and appreciation for literature begin in the Pre-kindergarten classroom, where emergent readers build skills as a foundation for a lifetime of literacy experiences. As emergent readers transition into developing readers, students benefit from diverse materials in which they can apply sequence-based phonics skills. 

This past August, our teachers were asked to “dream big” as they continue to enhance literacy development at Stevenson. Their thoughtfulness and research were well received. As a result, PK-Grade 1 students adopted Geodes Readers, a new collection of classroom literature used for targeted reading instruction and at-home application. An expert in the field, kindergarten teacher Michelle Scheid, reflects that “besides providing students with decodable text, Geodes reflect a broad range of identities and diverse experiences. This allows students to see themselves, others, and the world from multiple perspectives, aligning with our mission at Stevenson to promote inclusion and belonging within the educational environment.” 

Teachers launched the addition of Geodes Readers paired with a Literacy Night focused on the Science of Reading. Parents participated in a hands-on workshop focusing on the different strands of Scarborough’s Reading Rope. Michelle Scheid continues, “Geodes Readers pair well with our science-of-reading approach and help build knowledge and spark curiosity for our youngest learners.” 

Kate Bitter, dean of the lower division, adds, “As a division, we constantly reflect on research-based literacy practices and diverse reading materials. Literacy is ever-evolving, and our teachers are committed to applying best practices.” PK-1 teaching teams have inspired their colleagues to reflect on all aspects of literacy instruction, and in the coming months, faculty will research additional literature options for grades 2-4.