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Stephanie's Heroes: Stephen Peters

November 14, 2011

Stephen Peters is taking on more than just his usual math, science and social studies classes. The Greene County teacher is organizing an after school book club that has kids looking forward to speeding through the pages.

Peters and a dozen of his Nathaniel Greene Elementary 5th grade students meet one afternoon a week to read and discuss.

“I love reading and love the role that literature has played in my life since 5th grade. When I got the job I just couldn't give up reading because that's what I love," the teacher explained. "I think it's so important for 5th graders to start to love reading at this time in their life."

After just a couple of months, students are having fun reading and raising their hands to participate in group discussions.

“You see how unique the students are. Some who hone in on the parts of the book that are funny, and then there are students that are really touched by the human aspect of the book,” said Peters.

Although students are reading on different levels, Peters is making sure every student hears the story loud and clear. He recorded an audio CD using his voice to help students follow along in the book.

“[The book] is definitely at a higher reading level, so to make it available to all readers it was necessary to put it on a CD so that everybody could listen to it. Even if they can't read it they're able to at least listen to it and enjoy the text in that way," Peters explained.

The Greene County teacher stresses that this book club is all about having fun. There aren't any tests or quizzes; it's just an opportunity to curl up with a good book.

“I just want them to have a positive experience with a piece of literature,” said Peters.

Literature that some students may not have been exposed to without the book club.

“I think there's a lot of students that might not normally have picked up the book they are reading. They're excited about it, they carry their books all around school and they're getting their friends who didn't sign up wishing they had signed up,” said Peters.

It's this excitement that's getting the attention of other teachers. They say Peters is a hero for going the extra mile to share the gift of reading. Something that will stay with the children long after the book club is over.

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