Fourth Grade Teacher Encourages Students to Read with Winter Reading Fort
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Fourth Grade Teacher Encourages Students to Read with Winter Reading Fort
Posted on 02/19/2021
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Students gather at the Winter Reading Fort built by the Droege Family to encourage students to read.

It would be hard to miss the Winter Reading Fort nestled among the snow-covered lawns along Royal Ascot Drive in Fort Worth. Sitting on the corner with a hand-drawn sign, the igloo-like structure invites children to stop and read inside its snowy walls.

What started as a way to keep his kids busy while schools were closed has turned into a fun way for Brian Droege, a fourth grade teacher at Kay Granger Elementary, to encourage his students to read while they’re stuck at home.

Brian Droege Fourth Grade Teacher sitting outside Winter Reading Fort

“This is such a rare and special opportunity for kids to enjoy snow in Texas,” Droege said. “Students will be making memories that they will talk about for years. I would love it if one of those memories involved reading a book in an unusual place.”

Edmund (13), Penelope (11), Clark (10), and Dax (8) built the Winter Reading Fort in their front yard. They said it took about five hours to build the fort, using a 5-gallon bucket to construct snow blocks. The fort is made of 76 snow blocks. A few comfy pillows and some books finished out the space so that children in the neighborhood can stop by and read while they’re out playing in the snow.

Mr Droege reading a snowy day outside winter reading fort

Droege has recorded videos of himself reading books, like “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats, inside the fort to share with his class. The family has also encouraged children in the neighborhood surrounding Kay Granger Elementary to stop by with their own books to read.

books stacked outside winter reading fort

This isn’t the first time Droege and his family have put the spotlight on reading. In 2019, they appeared on the Kelly Clarkson show to share about their Summer Garage Library, where families can check out books and hear from guest readers while school isn’t in session.

reading inside winter reading fort with students

The Winter Reading Fort is another way to bring excitement to reading when students can’t be in the classroom.

“I want to encourage kids to find every enjoyable way to develop a habit of reading, especially outside of the classroom,” Droege said.