Rebekah Hess, Rock Ridge High School, Ashburn, VA

My name is Rebekah Hess, and I am 28 years old. I was raised in Loudoun County, Virginia, where I still reside. I attended Lee University in Cleveland, TN for a Bachelors of English and The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA for a Masters of Arts in Education.

I am a 6th year English teacher. I spent the first 5 years of my career in alternative education where I learned many lessons about classroom instruction and behavior management. The needs of those students shaped me as a teacher, and I now apply those skills to a normal high school setting where I teach 9th and 10th grade English. Seeing so many teenagers struggle with literacy, and therefore academics as a whole, inspired me to incorporate Independent Reading time in my teaching.

Winning the Book Love Foundation library has made such a difference in my classroom. Easy access to a wide variety of books has made students less resistant to reading. Students often use free time in class to browse the bookshelves, pouring over the covers of books in search of a new adventure. Students make use of the Book Love library constantly, devouring young adult literature and beginning to challenge themselves with harder, more advanced texts. I check books in and out of the class library every day.

The library has even assisted other English teachers in my school. One teacher was struggling to get her students interested in reading. I loaned her a set of books in a variety of genres that would appeal to her students, and many of them were excited to see books that related to their interests. My department has now decided to have a book drive to create libraries in every English classroom in our school. I am excited to how the class library continues to impact my students’ reading lives.