Reading month could inspire lifelong habits
BURTON — Atherton Elementary School joins schools across the nation in celebrating National Reading Month with various, daily creative reading activities for the children. One reason March was selected for the nationwide event is it’s also recognized as the month of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
“I think it’s nice to be part of something bigger than yourself,” said Jamie West, a third-grade teacher at Atherton Elementary. “It’s fun! Elementary school is supposed to be fun.”
Some of the school’s activities the children have participated in this month have included reading with the lights off and flashlights on, dressing like what they want to be when they grow up, reading to stuffed animals, wearing hats to school and dressing like a tourist.
When asked to dress for a job they would like one day, for example, kids dressed like a fashion designer, football player, teacher and a person that runs an African safari, among other costumes.
West participated by dressing like a principal.
“That’s what I want to be one day,” she said.
Susanne Carpenter, the school’s principal, selected the book “The Lemonade War” for the entire school to read.
“It touches a lot on economic concepts and entrepreneurship because the kids are starting their own lemonade stands,” West said.
West said she especially thinks students schoolwide will enjoy the Read and Feed event March 31.
“They can bring stuffed animals, pillows and blankets to read with,” she said. “It’s also pajama day and they have snacks.”
West said reading is the basis for all learning.
“I want my students to get warm, fuzzy feelings about reading,” she said.
In addition, West said the elementary years could be the most critical years for reading, although she said students always have the power to grow.
“Third grade is said to be the determining year,” West said. “Colleges and the judicial system both look at third grade reading levels as an indicator of their future trends.”
Jaxon Keeney, who is in first grade, said he liked Hat Day.
“I think Dr. Seuss wearing a hat is really funny,” Keeney said. “In one of his books, “The Glunk That Got Thunk,” he uses the word ‘thunk’ and that’s not even a real word.”
Keeney said he likes reading books because every time he reads he gets better.
Lilly Brittain, who is in third grade, said she liked reading to her stuffed dog, Lucky, as part of the events.
“I like reading to Lucky because he keeps me company,” she said.
She also said she enjoyed drinking lemonade at school in honor of the book “The Lemonade War.”
“Drinking lemonade made me want to read more because I love lemonade,” she said. “I learn to read better when I read more.”
West said people who do not attend schools that recognize National Reading Month can still appreciate it as the kids do. She said places of business can have reading clubs or ‘one business, one book’ events in which the entire workplace reads the same book. She said businesses can also encourage people to read during their lunch breaks, and that the ‘take a book, leave a book’ program was a very good one. In addition, West said people don’t use their “amazing” local libraries like they should.
She said she hoped her students would, on the other hand, find reading enjoyable.
“My goal for the students is that they will have a love of reading and reading for pleasure” West said. “It can open so many doors!”
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