The Randolph School library began on South Randolph Avenue in Poughkeepsie, and was initially filled with donations from the founding families. They gave classic children’s literature by Tove Jansson, Robert McCloskey, Lloyd Alexander, Astrid Lindgren, Jean Craighead George, Maurice Sendak, E.B. White, and others. These books came from their own bookshelves, were borrowed, or were purchased new, many with helpful advice from the children’s librarian at the Poughkeepsie public library.
Those early Randolph teachers and parents recognized the value of a large and thoughtfully curated collection of children’s literature for children’s learning. They knew that reading is not just the skillful use of phonetic cues, but a way into a whole world of imagination and information. They saw books as things of aesthetic value as well as cultural significance, of emotion as well as beauty. They knew that literature was meant to be shared as well as pored over alone, to be heard aloud as well as mastered individually.
Every age (adults, too!) can benefit from listening. I have been reading aloud to Randolph students for all of the 25 years I’ve been teaching here–children from three years old right through to our oldest students. I come from a family that treasured reading aloud as an important part of our life together. As I’ve been developing my own approach to teaching and learning (an approach that is still ongoing after almost six decades of teaching children and adults), I’ve seen what a powerful teaching tool this way of sharing texts can be. Even students who can read with ease respond deeply to the shared experience of reading aloud, while children who are at an earlier stage in their reading mastery can appreciate and respond with understanding to material that they wouldn’t be able to read themselves. I have taught many subjects to many ages during my time at Randolph, and reading aloud continues to be a wonderful part of my work.
Did you know that Randolph School owns a unique collection of hundreds of children’s books, including signed copies and first editions? The library began in 1963 with donations from the families and teachers who founded the school. The collection has continued to grow for over 50 years. It’s a treasured resource for teachers, and a hunting ground for children looking for information, inspiration and a view into another world.
At a time when some schools are closing their libraries or converting to digital only, we are investing in our precious collection by building a beautiful new home for our books. And we are naming that collection for our amazing teachers, who bring these books to life for Randolph kids. The Teachers’ Library in The Studios. It’s a wise investment: Research shows that print books hold specific advantages for early readers over digital formats. And we know first hand the power of the books in our collection to motivate and ground literacy in children.
Did you or your child learn to read with books from Randolph’s library? Have you donated books to the collection? Have you witnessed the love between a child and the book they are holding in their hands?
Show your support for reading, books and Randolph School’s Teachers’ Library by donating to The Studios.
The kids are back in class–and in the playground, down at the creek, and in the woods.
The fundraising campaign for The Studios is also back in action. We have 9 months to raise the remaining $125,000. We can only do this with the participation of the whole Randolph community! All levels of giving are welcome. Every gift will be acknowledged in the new building. Each and every gift says: I believe that art, music, movement and reading are core elements in the education of young children.
My husband and I chose to spread our donation over 6 months. Doing this allowed us to give (what for us is) a substantial donation–but in a way that was manageable for our monthly budget. You can do the same when you donate here via PayPal (or you can send a series of post-dated checks to Randolph School).
P.S. Don’t you love Randolph’s new logo (and it comes in green, orange and violet)!
Yes, we now have $125,000 in donations and pledges towards our goal of $250,000!
Thank you so much to everyone has who helped us get this far:
- Past and present Randolph families
- Past and present Randolph board members
- Past and present Randolph teachers
- Grandparents and grandfriends
- Randolph parent group
- Randolph alumni
Haven’t made your donation yet? There is still time! And did you know that you can spread out your donation? If you donate online here via PayPal, you can make a one time donation of the full amount or you can spread out the donation over 6 months. If you prefer to donate by check, you can send send a series of checks, spreading out your donation however you wish.
In 2014, we raised $12,000 to repair the iconic front porch of Randolph main building (see photo below). That campaign succeeded because some people donated $2,000, and some people donated $25, and many, many people gave an amount somewhere in between. One donation of $15 brought tears to my eyes because I knew that the donor did not have a lot of money to spare–and yet she believed in Randolph School and wanted to be part of our work.
Over the next year, we will be reaching out far and wide to bring more people together to make The Studios a reality.
Please join us!
MARCH 12, 2016: Josie and Lisa had a great day at Maple Fest talking with friends of all ages about The Studios.