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Michigan Second Grade Charter School Student Publishes Children's Book Reflecting on Experience Learning Amid COVID-19

NHA Communications Team  |  November 11, 2020
Writing from the heart and sharing what he knows, one Michigan second-grader reflected on his experience learning amid a global pandemic and shared the journey in his first-ever published book. David Smith, published author and second-grade student at East Arbor Charter Academy, kicked off National Young Readers Week (NYRW) by reading his book “Going to School is Fun, Staying Home is Too!” in a socially distanced book-launch assembly.
David Smith reading to a class.

David’s book shares the story about how children around the world were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. His first-hand account explores the unexpected adventure of learning how to learn at home and having fun while doing it.
“During this pandemic, it has been amazing to see the great things that have come out of such a challenging time,” said Tanesha Newby, principal at East Arbor. “David writing this book is at the top of my list. I am so proud of him for using this as a platform to support other students his age.”
Student reading to a class.

The book reading took place in the school’s gymnasium where Smith read to his second-grade class, all of whom also received a paperback copy of the book to read and follow along.
“We are honored to participate in National Young Readers Week and proud to host one of our own young authors,” said Newby. “We always love to share the joy of reading with our students. Celebrating this week helps us emphasize how reading is infused in all subject areas and all facets of life.”
Newby encourages her students to look beyond traditional books to help develop a life-long love for reading. “New vocabulary can be found on cereal boxes, comic books, and while riding in the car,” she said. “We encourage our students to read whatever is in front of them because learning is not limited to words in a book.”
Student reading to a class.

East Arbor, part of National Heritage Academies’ (NHA) network of schools across the country, emphasizes the importance of building a strong foundation in English Language Arts (ELA) to integrate key learning skills in cross-curricular subjects. Research shows that incorporating ELA into a child’s education helps close learning gaps by providing essential background knowledge in other subject areas.
“To ensure that students can take full advantage of what reading has to offer, we focus very heavily on learning to read,” said Karen Hannant, manager of English Learners and reading intervention at NHA. “From a fundamental standpoint, the ability to read well provides access to critical information. From understanding science and social studies content to following directions, literacy is such a key component.”
As part of this intentional method, East Arbor’s ELA curriculum focuses on a structured approach to learning, providing students ample opportunities to sharpen their skills in reading and writing.
“We want our students to grow into lifelong readers,” said Hannant. “We are so excited to participate in National Young Readers Week because we believe that a love of reading needs to start young!”
National Young Readers Week, which takes place annually during the second week of November, aims to raise awareness around the importance of reading. 
Watch Fox 2 News share David’s story.