By Elizabeth Lowe
Archbishop Borders School fourth-grader Ronald Herrera said if his peers want to grow up and be successful – like renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson – they must read.
“Reading helps you do stuff,” said Ronald, 10.
The 46th Ben Carson Reading Room opened April 19 at the Highlandtown school, the first Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Baltimore with one, said Cathy Marshall, principal.
To view a slideshow of the event, navigate the arrows below.
Archbishop Borders is the only Catholic school in the archdiocese with a dual-language curriculum, an immersion program in English and Spanish.
All of the school’s approximately 140 students in pre-kindergarten for 3-year-olds through eighth grade have access to the reading room, which has more than 1,700 books – in English and Spanish – and six e-readers, Marshall said.
Eighth-grader Niyah Ross, 14, who plans to read in the room often, called the space “extraordinary.”
Both Ronald and Niyah said reading is “very important.”
“If you want to be successful, you have to (read),” Niyah said. “Reading is cool. It’s like math – it’s in everything.”
The room “is to get them excited about reading,” said Monika Morgan, Archbishop Borders’ fifth grader teacher, and “has definitely sparked their interest.”
Students will read a minimum of 30 minutes in the space, but older students are expected to read for longer periods, said Morgan.
While many students know of Dr. Carson, Morgan said, not too many have books at home.
“This is going to be their main source of where they get their books and do their reading,” Morgan said.
With bright blue walls, colorful floor tiles, bean bag chairs and other comfortable seating, the room is kid-friendly and inviting.
In one corner of the room a reading chart is posted. Between April 22 and June 7, the goal is to log 14,650 minutes.
Dr. Benjamin Carson and his wife, Candy Carson, co-founded the Carson Scholars Fund in 1994, a nonprofit that works to combat illiteracy.
“Anywhere you want to go … you can do it in the reading room,” Dr. Carson said in a video message to students.
Growing up, Dr. Carson’s mother required him to read books and write book reports for her.
Candy Carson told students that through reading, they’ll visit new places.
“Oh, the places you’ll go,” Candy Carson said. “Take advantage of the reading room.”
The project cost $10,000, Marshall said, and was paid with a Bank of America grant through the Ben Carson Scholars Fund. The Ben Carson Reading Project is a fund initiative.
Copyright (c) April 19, 2013 CatholicReview.org