By Sarrah Peters
All month long, students at Hokes Bluff Elementary and Hokes Bluff Middle Schools have been getting “wild about reading.” As part of the Reading Across America campaign, students held a character parade, dressed as bugs for “Buggy for Books” day, celebrated Dr. Suess’s birthday and read books.
To get kids even more amped about reading, Heather Hannah and Amy Dillard, the school librarians, invited nonfiction author Heather L. Montgomery to speak to the students. To make it even more of a learning experience, elementary students were paired with middle school students to ask questions.
Asking questions is what Montgomery is all about! Montgomery’s books are science based, and as a scientist, questions are the foundations of learning. She told the students that questions are the key.
To explain how exciting research can be, she told the kids about climbing a tree and staying there all night. She writes what she observes in a science journal, so she doesn’t forget it.
Her nonfiction books revolve around nature and science, but usually with a fun spin. Her books include How Rude! Real Bugs Who Won’t Mind Their Manners, Unsolved Mysteries of Nature, Wild Adventures: Wacky New Animals, The Case of the Missing Arctic Fox and Other True Animal Mysteries for You to Solve, How is Soil Made?, Why Do my Teeth Fall Out?, How to Survive an Earthquake, What’s Inside a Rattlesnake’s Rattle and more.
Montgomery also developed the McDowell Environmental Center, which provides “outdoor learning experiences for school groups in the forests, canyons and streams of beautiful Camp McDowell.”
After Montgomery spoke, the student pairs asked their own questions about “nature artifacts,” even observing the objects closer with magnifying tools. They recorded the questions and observations in notebooks.
Montgomery stayed to speak to parents at the schools’ Family Reading Night, where she shared “how to engage and make reading meaningful for their children.”