The 3rd grade Silver Salamanders and their teacher Ms. Angela Whitacre de Resendiz enjoyed a field trip to The Art Institute of Chicago to visit the Thorne Rooms. The 68 miniature rooms, each exquisitely detailed with accoutrement from different historical time periods, have been a well-loved and magical experience for Chicago’s children for generations. But for this generation, including the Silver Salamanders, they are even more magical!
The class had been reading aloud the first of the youth fiction series titled, “The Sixty-Eight Rooms,” by author Marianne Malone. In the books, a young girls finds a magical key that shrinks her small enough to explore the tiny rooms and discover their secrets, which opens a world of adventure.
Silver Salamander Agatha enjoyed both the book and the trip, remarking: “I think the book was a perfect combination of imagination and reality. The Thorne rooms are real, but there is a magical touch to it. I liked the field trip because we got to see the rooms they used in the book, like E-1, (photo right) which is my favorite!”
Teacher Ms. Angela says she often chooses the first book in a series as a group reading choice. “Picking out books to read is often a surprisingly difficult task for kids. If we’ve read something they like, they have something ready to go. They get excited about reading the next book on their own. Sometimes it generates excitement with a few kids and we get an informal wait list and they have something to talk about with other kids which is a more authentic motivator for reading.”
“Also, research shows that reading books in series builds reading comprehension,” says Ms. Angela. “After the first book, the reader already has the background and character information. So now they can spend more time with new vocabulary, noticing subtleties in the storyline, and assessing the writing style.”
The Art Institute trip was one of several trips the class has taken since the first of the year. The Children’s School, students enjoyed over 70 field trips last year alone. Field trips at TCS support learning in a wide variety of academic skills, including literature!