Thornton educator named Book Trust Teacher Of The Year for her work in young literacy - Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel (2024)

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Kristin Schneider lauded for developing a love for reading in her third-graders at STEM Launch

Thornton educator named Book Trust Teacher Of The Year for her work in young literacy - Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel (1)byMonte Whaley

Thornton educator named Book Trust Teacher Of The Year for her work in young literacy - Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel (2)

Kristin Schneider is a bit of a book detective. During the first week of school at STEM Launch in Thornton, she lets her third graders browse through the library and notes which books they pick out to read.

Schneider then looks over their shoulders a bit to see what books they have stuck with and sits with them so they can read together. She also asks what books they have at home.

Soon enough, Schneider can deduce what books her students stick with throughout the school year. “The more you ask the more you find out usually after two or three weeks of school what books they like,” Schneider said.

She also helped develop a strategy at STEM Launch to keep students reading all the way to the last word.

“Earlier this year, we noticed some of our kids weren’t sitting down and reading a book start to finish, Schneider said. “We decided to dedicate 15 minutes a day for just reading. The kids learned to pick up a book and read it from cover to cover.”

Schneider’s work toward making kids dedicated readers made her the winner of the 2023-24 Book Trust Teacher of the Year. Schneider has participated in the Book Trust program for eight years.

She’s one of more than 2,700 educators nationwide who leverage Book Trust’s program to help students choose books of interest and build personal libraries.

This school year, Book Trust supports nearly 60,000 students and more than 190 schools by offering curated, developmentally and culturally relevant print books at no cost to students or their families, according to a Book Trust news release.

Teachers like Schneider who participate in Book Trust at the school or district level guide students in selecting books of interest, making book ownership a joyful celebration while fostering a culture of literacy at school and home, the news release states.

The Book Trust Teacher of the Year Award is one small way for the organization and its founder, Adrienne Schatz, along with her family, to recognize the important role educators play in the program, according to Book Trust.

“Reading is an important way children make sense of the world,” said Patience Peabody, Book Trust’s President and CEO in the news release. “Book Trust relies on teachers to support students in making the connection between their interests, reading, and the wider world. We are so grateful to Kristin and all Book Trust teachers for finding innovative and creative ways to celebrate book choice and ownership with their students.”

Thanks to the Schatz family, STEM Launch will receive a $2,500 contribution in support of early literacy. “It’s so much fun to watch kids read books that they picked out for themselves,” Schneider said in the news release. “It really gets them invested in reading and growing their imagination.”

A colleague nominated Scheider for the Book Trust Teacher of the Year Award in recognition of her outstanding early literacy practices, including her ability to create a welcoming classroom environment for book selection that encourages students to explore their interests and aspirations, the news release states.

Schneider said third grade is an ideal time to start the reading habit since kids at that age are no longer just focusing on just sounding our words. “They are getting ideas that are coming from behind the stories they are reading,” she said. “They are reading the text and getting new information out of it.”

Parents who crack open a book and share stories with their sons or daughters at home are especially helpful in building reading skills among their children, Schneider said. “We definitely see the impact on students who sit down and read to them 20 minutes a day,” Schneider said.

STEM Launch also includes several Spanish-speaking families, and she encourages those parents to read books in Spanish if it helps build literacy skills, she said. Doing that, “gets more buy-in from families,” Schneider said.

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Thornton educator named Book Trust Teacher Of The Year for her work in young literacy - Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel (2024)


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