Silent Reading Party a Quiet Success

The Steward School
A page-turning, calming gathering
Twinkle lights, snacks, a (virtual) fire on a computer screen, and lots and lots of books … what could it mean?

In the Middle/Upper School Library, it was the perfect combination for a recent Silent Reading Party  —a national phenomenon that has been popular throughout the country for almost a decade. Middle/Upper School Librarian Crystal Hamlin was inspired to organize a Silent Reading Party at Steward after reading about a Richmond entrepreneur who has organized them around town for the last five years. 

“It's such a fun and easy way to encourage people to read independently but together while adding a dash of ceremony and fun!” she said. “I turned off the overhead lights, played coffee-shop music to set the vibe, and offered snacks at the door to students, faculty, and staff.” 

Fostering a community that includes a focus on the whole-person experience is an integral part of Steward’s strategic plan, Compass 2028: Inspire the Future

Anna Ernst ’24 enjoyed taking a health-enhancing break to read while in the company of classmates. “It was so nice to have some quiet time,” she said. 

Ms. Hamlin plans to make Silent Reading Parties a regular occurrence, most likely once a quarter. 

“For students (and adults), our days are jam-packed, so setting aside time to sit and enjoy some reading time is so very important!” she said. “Studies have shown that reading can lower heart rate and lessen tension in muscles. Beyond the physical benefits, reading helps us escape into new worlds, empathize with others, and learn more about ourselves in the process.” 

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