10,000-minute reading goal achieved, says teacher
Interesting costumes included Cinderella and children's book characters
The region’s hardest winter since 1994 precipitated the need to make up calamity days at R.C. Lindsey Elementary School.
But two reading intervention teachers, Natalie Mikes and Gina Catanese, wrote the book on turning those two extra days into an event enjoyed by students, teachers and staff.
The Chester Township school held the first annual Lindsey Literacy Day last Wedesday, a day-long celebration promoting literacy, Mikes said.
“We want students to love reading,” she added. “We both decided to organize the literacy day in an effort to keep the students engaged and learning while having fun at the same time.”
A few months ago, both Mikes and Catanese discovered an idea for a “Read-A-Thon” by accident. An idea was born and planning began in earnest for the literacy day.
A key highlight, the “Parade of Characters,” started at 8:45 a.m. Students were encouraged to come to school dressed up as one of their favorite book characters.
The winner of each of the school’s 16 classrooms won a $5 gift card, while first-, second- and third-place grand prize winners announced at the end of the day won respective $20, $15 and $10 cards, Mikes said.
Teachers also switched classrooms and read stories to other classrooms. Additionally, students from both sets of classrooms paired up and read to each other, said Catanese, dressed as Strawberry Shortcake.
Mikes said the school’s roughly 440 students participated in sustained silent reading (SSR) for time periods based on the grade level in order to hit a 10,000-minute goal. Kindergarteners and first-grades read for 20 minutes, while second- and third-graders read for 30 minutes. The fourth- and fifth-graders read 40 minutes as well.
The school also held a “Poetry/Readers’ Theater Slam,” presented by the school’s staff at the conclusion of the day and were slated to receive popsicles a day later because they hit the 10,000-minute goal, Catanese said.
Fifth-grade reading teacher Virginia Scott said she enjoyed the event just as much as her students did. Scott dressed up as Cruella de Vil of “101 Dalmations” fame.
“My children loved that movie growing up,” Scott said. “This is a good kickoff to summer reading. It will get them excited about reading.”
Staff members were just as creative as students when it came to costumes: Two dressed up as Cinderella and Mary Poppins. Second-grade teacher Joelle Ehrbar dressed up as the tree featured in Shel Silverstein’s 1964 epic children’s book, “The Giving Tree.” Her costume utilized a Styrofoam O-ring as the tree’s canopy and also contained artificial leaves.
“My mom used to read that book to me when I was younger,” Ehrbar said of Silverstein’s work. “What a fun event!”
Second-grade teachers Evanthia Hocevar and Courtney Werling were respectively dressed as Miss Viola Swamp and Miss Nelson of the famed “Miss Nelson is Missing!” book series.
Another unique costume was that of third-grade teacher Laura Murray, who was dressed as a cow from Doreen Cronin’s work, “Click Clack Moo.” Her students –Caitlin Mann, Emily Berdis, Molly Widmar and Courtney Whiting – all enthusiastically said the event was fun and they loved dressing up.
Caitlin dressed up as Annabeth Chase, of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series.
“She’s my favorite character,” Caitlin said.
But, underneath the fun and games, the importance of the day’s events shone through to both students and teachers, said Principal Ken Bernacki.
“It’s fun to see them dressed up in costume,” Bernacki said. “It’s very important to see the children love to read.”
For more information about either summer reading or the Summer Reading Challenge at Lindsey, click here:
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