Pirates, wizards help students read

February 2, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Maria Murray, a fifth-grade teacher, reads the book ‘How I Became a Pirate,’ to students and their families in the Pirate’s Den reading room. By Chantelle Lusebrink

Teachers dressed as pirates and wizards — what more could a student ask for?

Families gathered for a night of reading fun at Clark Elementary School’s first Literacy Night Jan. 25.

“We wanted to make sure reading was really a focus in our school community, because we know how important it is to make sure our kids are growing into readers,” Principal May Pelto said. “Clark is also a school community, and this is a great way to stay connected with our parents and families.”

The event featured seven themed reading rooms that families could go to together, like Reading in the Rain Forest; Cozy Up with a Good Book at the Family Campout; and Come Read in the Pirate’s Den.

“Results have shown it’s very important for students to read with their families, because it really helps promote, not only their reading ability, but a love for reading,” said Mary Browning, the school’s psychologist. “So, we’re trying to promote that within our school.”

Students also brought in old books they had grown out of or tired of to give at the book exchange.

“I had a book I didn’t want,” fourth-grader Abby Jones said. “It’s fun to read new books, since I like words.”

“I came because I wanted a new book,” fourth-grader Madison Schroeder said. “And it seemed like fun.

“It’s important to know how to read books, like science books, because they tell you about science. And if you get a job, like a doctor, you need to know how to read books.”

Families could also purchase a variety of book-themed baked treats from a snack table.

They were serving up book favorites, like meatballs from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” and fried worms from “How to Eat Fried Worms,” as well as sweet treats from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” said fifth-grader Trenton Sanders.

King County Librarian Ann Crewdson was on hand to explain the benefits of family involvement with children’s reading, help families understand how to navigate their local library system and the benefits of a library card.

“We only have so much time to provide the practice of reading,” teacher Denise Winkler said. “We really rely on families to provide that practice at home through modeling.

“Parents are also the best first teachers.”

On the Web

King County Library System: www.kcls.org

Improve family reading

Read aloud regularly

-Set aside a regular reading time.

-Have your child read to you.

-Pack a book everywhere.

-Encourage children to read everything, like signs and cereal boxes.

-Set a goal for reading and a reward for reaching it.

Share your love of reading

-Set an example by reading regularly.

-Consult books when you have a question.

-Talk about what you read and what you read together.

-Create a family library, with a variety of books.

-Research family trips and projects with your child.

Make books and reading a part of your home

-Get everyone in your family a library card.

-Schedule family visits to the library.

-Play word games.

-Give gifts or rewards of books.

-Have fun books around the house.

-Teach your child how to use books to find answers.

Source: King County Library System

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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