The body of reading at NHE Schools has a primary purpose:
To bring children in contact with authors whose ideas can offer mental and spiritual expansion.
Through books we can touch the mind of nearly anyone who has ever committed their thoughts to words! We therefore think of reading as a way of magically “keeping company” with people separated from us by distance or by time. We need to choose carefully the type of “company” that young children are keeping through literature. Therefore, our philosophy is that what children read should take precedence over how much they read. Having students come in contact with minds dyed in the rich colors of lofty ideals is one of the best ways to educate them.
Books should teach values, uplift, inspire, expand horizons, challenge our thinking, clarify our thoughts, and review our actions. When you reach a child in this profound way through literature, they will also develop a love of reading and the requisite skills. While truly important, these last two goals are subservient to our primary goal. Ironically, as time goes by children immersed in great literature tend to read more fluently and with better comprehension than children from programs whose primary stress is upon those very skills.
In short, it is our philosophy that reading as an activity in school should
- be primarily concerned with great and uplifting content
- be secondarily concerned with developing habit
- and finally be concerned with skills development
Sample of themes addressed through literature in fourth grade
- How should I use my words
- Is it ever okay to lie? What is a child to do when adults or authorities are telling them to do something wrong?
- What do I believe about life and death?
- What do I think about good and evil?
What are some ways people seek to understand the Supreme Being, Great Spirit, or God?
- How does racism develop and how can I overcome it?
- How are many cultures of the world alike and different?
- What causes one to steal and what are the consequences?
- What is our place in the balance of nature; how do we stand in relation to the animals of the world?
- Why and how is love so important to our healthy growth?