Reading goes beyond the average classroom

Zoe Bowman, Business Manager

On Nov. 1,  Laguna Beach High School’s book club sent their first six copies of Treasure Island, written by Robert Louis Stevenson, to students who live in Ghana. Their primary goal is to invite students across the globe to join them in a communal reading group.

They read with Pershing High School in Detroit, Michigan, and Crossover International Academy in Ghana, Africa. They also read with Top of the World and El Morro Elementary Schools. Crossover Academy is a school for refugees. At the school in Michigan, all the kids are financially impacted, and it’s a 100% minority school.

“We’ve started [the] Global Reading Village; it is a blog we [created], and we have shipped books to a school in Ghana—also [to] a school in Michigan,” said special education teacher Mindy Hawkins.

The blog is called Global Reading Village. When you go to the blog, the first thing you see is their goal for the club and what they hope will come of it. LBHS students post questions relating to the current books the club is reading, as well as ask about student life in other areas of the world. The blog allows the students from the other schools to respond, providing additional insight on topics. LBHS Book Club is able to talk with the other schools through Google Hangout and Skype to have face to face discussions.

“We are trying to connect our different cultures and our different grade levels and recognize that we face a lot of the same issues,” said Hawkins.

The Book Club is also trying to acknowledge various problems from a refugee’s point of view with the kids in Ghana, as opposed to kids in Laguna Beach and Detroit.

“Even though they are living in the U.S., they still deal with a lot of different situations than we do,” said Hawkins, regarding the students from Detroit.

It is more challenging to Skype with the school in Ghana due to the difference in time zones; however, the school in Detroit hosts their meeting during our lunch period so it is easier to connect with them.

“I think this club is going to be something really great and help connect Laguna outside of the bubble” said junior Aleya Post.

The book they are currently reading is called Wonder, by Raquel Jaramillo, who writes under the pen name of R. J. Palacio. It is about a child with a facial deformity who has to go into a public school and deal with the way kids treat him.

“[It] is really interesting to see how this boy struggles and how he overcomes it,” said junior Ariana Nugent.

The book club has recently shipped books to Cape Town, Africa, hoping that they will join their group.

“We are trying to get more people from the high school to join, because it is a pretty small group we have,” said Hawkins.

The book club meets during fifth period, so if students are interested, they are encouraged to check out the blog and come talk to Mrs. Hawkins.

“This is a really cool experience, and we are hoping that it will grow over the next couple of years,” said Hawkins.
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