As an alumna of their sales & leadership program, I obviously loved the Southwestern Advantage products and believed in their effectiveness in reaching students. Now, as an educator, I am even more convicted in the Southwestern Advantage products.
I currently teach third and fourth grade students in a small school in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. Most of my students have never been past a two hour radius of their home. I try to incorporate as many “real-world” experiences to my students as possible while still reaching all the standards that are required. I have found in my years of teaching that kids LOVE non-fiction books. As a teacher, so do I. Books about animals, space, and our Earth are so interesting to kids who love learning. My students choose to use their free-time in the classroom reading the Explore and Learn and Ask Me books from Southwestern Advantage. They are always quick to tell me the new facts they learned, as well as the cool new experiments they want to try next. When my students are excited about something they learned, well that makes makes me extra happy, and the smiles on their parents’ faces are just as rewarding.
So what about the students who don’t love learning/reading? In my first year of teaching it broke my heart (and still does) when a child told me he hated school or hated reading. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a few of those attitudes in my classroom. I tried so many incentives/rewards to get those few students excited about reading. Nothing worked until I introduced the Explore and Learns to my students. To them, it wasn’t reading. They just found the facts and pictures interesting. To me, I knew they were learning and were still reading; that was all that mattered. I will never forget the day when the one student who disliked school the most spoke the words, “School is fun!” Now, the Explore and Learns may not have been the only reason he began to like school (I like to think it was my great teaching skills *wink*), but there’s no doubt that these books played a major role.
I will always continue to use Southwestern Advantage books in my classroom. They offer a fun way for students to learn more about topics they are already interested in, and they allow students to share what they are learning before the teacher even covers it (always a high point in a student’s day). Most importantly though, they show kids that school, and learning, can be fun. Thank you, Southwestern Advantage.