Big Read Brings Book Discussion to Staples
By Mark Anderson, News Editor, courtesy of Staples World
Staples Motley High School students were one of 15 groups in the Great River Regional Library area to participate in the Big Read, all centered around “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.
On Jan. 9, high school English students walked from Staples Motley High School to the Staples Library and were put into three groups to meet with with group leaders Bev Anderson, a library services assistant and also leader of the library’s book club; Sandy Boily, a member of the library’s book club; and Brenda Halvorson, member of the Friends of the Staples Public Library.
In each group, the students discussed the novel and the main characters, Jem and Scout Finch and their father Atticus Finch. They also talked about some of the themes of the book, including racism, class differences, the innocence of children and the courage to stand up for truth while facing prejudice.
Instructor Kermit Klefsaas said the Big Read event was a natural fit with the English curriculum and it gave them a new way to discuss the novel. “The students get to hear adults talk about the book and events that are still relevant today,” he said.
Klefsaas said it was an opportunity for students to build a relationship with the library as they are moving into adulthood to promote lifelong reading and learning.
The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with Arts Midwest.