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YUHSD librarians challenge students to grow literacy skills

Students and adults around Yuma Union High School District have been issued a challenge by the district’s librarians. From August 2018 to April 2019, libraries on all five comprehensive campuses will be “Reading Without Walls.”

The challenge is as follows: 1) Read a book about a character who doesn't look like you or live like you. 2) Read a non-fiction book about a topic you don't know much about. 3) Read a book in a format you don't normally read for fun.

"All the district librarians are excited about the ‘Reading Without Walls’ program this year,” Yuma High School Librarian Cait Zaksheske said, “because not only does it promote leisure reading to students, which grows their literacy skills, but it also encourages students to get out of their comfort zones and develop empathy.”

The idea comes from a 2017 initiative by Gene Luen Yang, last year's National Ambassador to Young People's Literature. It is in reference to the walls humans tend to build around themselves that can be limiting and decrease empathy for others. It is the first time the librarians have had a unified challenge across YUHSD.

“Students and staff are encouraged to participate in the competition,” Cibola High School Librarian Amanda Coltman said. “This theme and competition will not only increase literacy, but will also promote compassion for others in our global society.”

YUHSD Librarians include: Zaksheske, Coltman, Peggy Evans at Gila Ridge High School, RJ Kiekevold at Kofa High School and Lourdes Aranda at San Luis High School.

Eric Patten