Community reaches out to young readers
by Mark Andrews
Sep 22, 2012 | 1048 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At White Elementary School, this Friday’s Literacy Day was not only a day to celebrate the fun of reading, but to provide an opportunity for community members to share their love of reading with students.

“What we’re doing is promoting literacy and all of our instruction today is based on reading,” Assistant Principal Molly Gann said of the school’s Literacy Day. “We’ll have free time for children to ‘Drop Everything And Read,’ but then we have guest readers ... going in and out of classrooms reading their favorite books from childhood. I actually read Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’ because I love a book that promotes a cause.”

She said the state elementary curriculum calls for 90 minutes of reading throughout the school day, in general, but reading was emphasized especially during Literacy Day.

Guest readers ranged from Superintendent John Harper, who read “The Little Engine that Could,” to Jeff Lewis, who served on the Georgia General Assembly for 16 years and now serves as a board member for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Lewis, a Dr. Seuss fan, read “There’s a Wocket in my Pocket” to Kelly DeFrench’s second grade class.

“Reading is so essential and sometimes when students hear from folks they don’t see every day, maybe they’ve heard of them or maybe it’s someone their parents have talked about before, that’s something new and sometimes they focus in a little more,” Lewis said. “If that is the case and we can put a word of encouragement in their ear to work hard and study harder and learn more, that’s fantastic because hopefully we can encourage them to become better students than they already are.”

One example of reaching out to students included Lewis speaking about comic books with some of the male students.

“Often times it’s the girls who come in loving to read and we have to work a little more with some of the boys,” DeFrench said.

She explained how her class uses the state’s programs and curriculums to adapt to the needs within her classroom.

“We have a new program called the [‘Imagine It! Reading’] program, so we pull in trade books and we talk about the big idea, and this month it’s been ‘visualization,’” DeFrench said, adding a “trade book” is any book that meets the criteria of the program.

Teaching for nearly 13 years, she said one of the difficulties she has seen with student reading is a lack of interest in the activity.

“Kids, with all the technology they have, just don’t seem to love reading the way I did when I was a kid, so getting a kid to love to read is why we have a day like [Literacy Day] — to just sit around and read, because that’s something we just don’t do much of anymore,” DeFrench said.