Reader’s Club plans to take reading to a new level

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Jessica Paro

SHS librarian Tara Foor works with students in the IMC. Foor has much in store for the Reader’s club this year.

As with every new school year, changes, subtle or grand, are inevitable. The same concept applies to the multitude of clubs and activities surrounding SHS. Namely, The Readers Club of Southport is in the process of revamping with librarian Tara Foor and various students spearheading the transformation. With the main focus on books as a force for community service, Foor has a lot in store.

For starters, The Readers Club of Southport is no longer in effect. After careful consideration, Foor has finalized this decision. The club is actually taking on a new name. Essentially, Foor has rebranded the old Readers Club as #SOPOReads. Foor is desiring to make the club more inclusive, more impactful and more about volunteerism, not just reading books and having discussions.

“I am a firm believer that reading is the easiest way to learn something,” Foor said.

In the past, the routine of the club was just that, to read and learn. Read a book. Discuss it. Understand the book’s message. Move on to the next book. Rinse and repeat. Yet, this time around, Foor plans to implement all sorts of service opportunities within the club, sprucing up the traditional fabric of book clubs. This means club participants will utilize the conveyed themes of the books they read to create community service projects and propel those messages to others.

This entails reading an array of books with strong themes and making posters, starting challenges or taking part in any special activities that will relay those messages to other people within the community of SHS. The ideas that are projected towards the Cardinal community can be anything, as long as they align with the books the club members read. They, the members of the club, talk about raising awareness about disabilities, explaining contemporary problems in the world or anything that is affecting SHS students.

Senior Abby Dunn is “copiloting” the development of the club, according to Foor. She believes that this opportunity will positively influence those touched by the club’s community efforts.

“When I think of community service, I think of doing something for the greater good basically and not expecting anything in return,” Dunn said, “so just doing something because..it is the right thing to do or you want to make an actual difference without expecting anything for it.”

To give life to the process, Foor approved of an example of the kinds of books students may anticipate. The example was the book “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. In this title, there is an afflicted man, Morrie Schwartz, who had contracted ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Foor mentioned that the club would read a title like this: a book with a theme (like living each day to the fullest) and a major element (like disease). She indicated that, after reading, students would work together to create some sort of service project that would present the message and disease to others, bettering readers’ understanding of the culture within the text.

“We have chosen popular books like “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds and “Tyler Johnson Was Here” by Jay Coles because they cover important topics and can impact students,” Foor said in a message to The Journal. “After reading, we can then decide how to implement a community service project.”

“Students have chosen [these] books to read and promote as works that will make us better people to be the change in the world around us,” Foor said in an email to The Journal.

While the main focus of #SOPOReads is using books to promote community service, Foor also has another motive for the book club. Foor says that she wants to “enhance our reading culture” of SHS.

In essence, Foor really means to say that she would like to foster a culture of “reading to read” in students again. She has noticed that many students at SHS, or any school for that matter, tend to lose their penchants for reading as they progress through each year of school. Foor also realizes that most students become bogged down with schoolwork, mandatory reading, jobs and other activities, so reading for pleasure often falls to the wayside.

“The amount of people who read books just on on their own is dropping a lot…,” Dunn said. “I feel like (#SOPOReads) is going to help people get inspired to read.”

Dunn, along with other students and Foor, plan to transform the way students read.

In an effort to reignite reading in students, they hope to use the book club as a way to remind all students of the joys of reading, tying in community service, too.