SALT LAKE CITY — Holiday traditions at Our Lady of Lourdes School provide a sense of belonging and a way to express what is important for students during the season of Christmas. Advent prayers and wreaths, images of the Christ Child, stories read to students about the miraculous birth, and the annual Christmas program build a strong bond among the school community. For more than 10 years, the school has partnered with The King’s English Bookshop to create a yearly Christmas tradition emphasizing the importance of reading for students and their families.
Two events, student book talks and the Wine and Cheese evening, are anticipated by both the student body and their families. Each year, Margaret Neville, a member of the bookstore and an Our Lady of Lourdes graduate, lugs her boxes of current children’s literature to the school. She creates excitement among grade-leveled groups, kindergarten through eighth grade, as she discusses the books. Over the years, Ms. Neville has developed with students long-lasting relationships centered around books that continue beyond their high school years. Her enthusiasm for books bubbles over to the children to further instill the love of reading.
Several evenings later, parents pack into the bookstore, armed with wish-lists for the books that their young readers must have and excited to hear Mrs. Neville discuss recently published adult novels and nonfiction books. The event is hosted by the Home & School Association and includes wine and cheese, the adult book talks and shopping. The King’s English donates a portion of the sales back to Lourdes to use to purchase books for the school.
Reading is invaluable, says Christine Bergquist, school principal. “As teachers, we want our students to love reading as much as we do. The tradition of having The King’s English book talks is a way for us to celebrate the love of reading with our students. … Traditions bind people together, they strengthen a community, and they help children understand history. As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, our community traditions bring us closer to God.”
Courtesy of Our Lady of Lourdes School