Cathedral takes great pride in its library. In 2000, when a major expansion of the school was undertaken, putting in a state-of-the-art-albeit traditional-library was of paramount importance. The school and generous donors have continued to invest in the library keeping it up-to-date and fully stocked with books and technology to be a great resource for all students and faculty and a place of calm for the children during busy school days.
All students attend library two times per week. The librarian works in cooperation with the classroom teachers to engage the children in thoughtful curriculum that complements the focus of instruction in the classrooms. In addition, the librarian helps introduce and foster aptitude in research skills both with traditional paper resources in the library and online sources through guided direction on the proper and effective use of Internet research on iPads.
Children in Fourth through Eighth Grade have the opportunity to participate in a variety of programs (for example, Battle of the Books and Lunch Bunch) that complement the literature curriculum of the classroom, provide additional opportunities for independent reading for the voracious reader, and foster a sense of academic camaraderie through teamwork and competition.
Miss Natalie Mecham
Miss Mecham is a graduate of University of Portland, where she double majored in Communications and Theater. While attending school she also taught pre-school. Miss Mecham joined the staff at Cathedral School in the fall of 2016. Miss Mecham began her Library Science Degree in the summer of 2019.
Every year, in partnership with Scholastic Books, Cathedral hosts a Book Fair to both promote and generate excitement for reading and to raise funds to continue to purchase new books for the library. Cathedral’s interior courtyard is transformed into a full service bookstore with titles and offerings for babies and toddlers to adult. Designed, set up, and staffed by Cathedral’s librarian and parent volunteers, the fair is open to the school, parish, and visitors to Cathedral.
The Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award is sponsored by the Oregon Association of School Libraries and is named in honor of Beverly Cleary, the beloved Oregon-born children’s book author. The award is to encourage reading by highlighting good quality literature written on the second and third grade reading level. The contest encourages reading books that students may not otherwise find on their own and are not necessarily the popular best sellers. Cathedral’s Second and Third Graders are encouraged to read at least four books from the list of nominated books and then are eligible to vote for their own choice. Miss Mecham then submits the votes on behalf of Cathedral’s students and shares the winner once it is announced.
The Oregon Readers’ Choice Award is co-sponsored by the Oregon Library Association along with the Oregon Reading Association and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. Targeted at children in Fourth Grade through high school, ORCA has two categories that Cathedral Students participate in: upper elementary school division and middle school (intermediate) division. ORCA is intended to be a fun and exciting way for young readers to become enthusiastic and discriminating readers by reading a variety of books and then voting for their favorites in a democratic process. Cathedral students in grades four through eight are eligible to vote once they have read at least four of the books from the list of nominees.
Battle of the Books
To enhance and complement the literature curriculum in the classrooms, the library supports many programs to challenge and nurture eager readers. Led by Cathedral’s librarian, Miss Natalie Mecham, Cathedral fields two Battle of the Books (BOB) teams every year: one comprised of Middle School students and one of Fourth and Fifth Graders. BOB is made possible with funds from Cathedral’s Run for Cathedral annual fundraiser.
Cathedral bases its program on the model by the Oregon Association of School Libraries. Cathedral’s teams compete against teams from other Catholic schools in two battles in the spring. The battles consist of quiz-show type questions challenging children’s knowledge of content on sixteen selected books. All children in the selected grades are eligible for the team and to qualify, must read eight of the sixteen books and demonstrate proficiency by passing a quiz on the Accelerated Reader Program or filling out an assessment form about the books. Practices for the team are led by Miss Mecham at lunchtime and before school in the months leading up to the Battles. The mission of the Battle of the Books program is to encourage and recognize students who enjoy reading, promote academic excellence, and foster cooperative learning and teamwork among students.
The Oregon School Library Information System (OSLIS) is a database for student research. It provides access to reliable on line databases for students to guide students in in class and at home research projects. It includes encyclopedias, periodicals, opinion pieces, and many other credible sources. In addition, OSLIS works with iPads and can provide a tool for helping beginning readers master sounds and words. Cathedral students and parents may access OSLIS as follows:
- Link: www.oslis.org
- User Name: cathed (case sensitive)
- Password: oslis (case sensitive)
- Online Library Documents
Birthday Book Program
The Cathedral Library Birthday Book Program offers parents, grandparents, and friends the opportunity to provide a lasting tribute to celebrate student birthdays. A $20 donation funds the purchase of a library book that has been selected with the honoree in mind. This book will be tailored to both the interests and reading level of the birthday celebrant, and will be presented during the student’s class. The celebrant will then have the honor of being the first student to check it out from the library.
To participate in the program, print and complete the Birthday Book form, and return it, along with the $20 donation, to the school office.
Programs with Multnomah County Library
Taking advantage of its proximity to the main Multnomah County library, Cathedral has formed a relationship with the children’s librarians of the Multnomah County Library to complement our own curriculum with the activities and programs available with the public library
Cathedral’s own librarian, Miss Mecham, has partnered with Multnomah County librarians to run voluntary book club style “Lunch Bunches.” Beginning in Grade Four, each month, children who sign up for Lunch Bunch read a book from a list compiled by the Multnomah County Librarian. Students bring their lunch and participate in a discussion led by Miss Mecham. The program highlights current award-winning children’s books and challenges children in reading comprehension and analysis skills. Participating children enjoy reading a variety of books, including many that they would not typically select on their own.
Library Card Sign-Ups
Every year, Cathedral’s kindergarten class participates in the Great Library Card Adventure, the Library’rs annual campaign to sign up school children for library cards. With all of our students enjoying their own Multnomah County library card, the full use of the programs available at the Library is ensured.
Banned Book Week
Designed to coincide with Banned Book Week in late September, Cathedral School Seventh Graders are treated to a presentation from a county librarian that includes an overview of issues of censorship and an introduction to a variety of banned and challenged books. Banned Book Week celebrates the freedom to read and the presentation helps children value free and open access to information in the library.
Summer Reading Program
All Cathedral students, grades pre-k through 7 will soon receive a Multnomah County Summer Reading game board to bring home. Players keep track of the days they read, are read to, or listen to audiobooks to earn T-shirts and other prizes. The program is free and all who finish the game will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing for a trip for four to Great Wolf Lodge waterpark.
All those who earn a T-shirt, upon completion of the program, may wear it to school on the first Friday of the school year.
The following research studies show why it is imperative to keep your children reading during the summer months.
- K Through 3rd Graders
- “Decoding skills declined 45% and fluency skills (essential beginning reader skills) declined 25% between May and September.”-Mraz, M., & Rasinski, T.V. Summer Reading Loss, (2007, May).
- 4th Through 8th Graders
- “By the time a struggling reader reaches middle school, summer reading loss has accumulated to a two–year lag in reading achievement.”-Education Digest, November 2003.
- “Summer reading loss is cumulative. Children who do not read during the summer don’t “catch up” in fall because other children are moving ahead with their skills.”-Alexander, Karl and Entwisle, Doris. Beginning School Study. Johns Hopkins University.
- Thank you! With your help, we can encourage our students to keep reading this summer.