Celebrating a Community of Diverse Readers

We traditionally send students to school so they can learn to read, write and do arithmetic. But rarely do we stop and examine “What is the real value of reading?” Of course, reading enables our students to grow up and pursue careers in their chosen fields of interest. However, here at Parker we believe that reading has more intrinsic value than as just a means to an end. Reading enriches our students’ lives in the here and now by developing their language skills, exposing them to new worlds and ideas, and letting their imaginations run wild. That is why, every year, we choose to celebrate our students’ love of reading with our annual Read Across America Day.
Read Across America Day is a true celebration of literacy. Students delight in gathering in the morning to see the clever and artful costumes that their peers have pulled together. During a typical year, we would celebrate RAAD with a character parade, puppet show and classroom author visits. However, this year, each class got creative with their own literary endeavors, and we also enjoyed some whole-school activities as separate classes.
Our morning started with a live performance of Jan Brett’s The Mitten by our Kindergarten class. Narrated by Leigh, and starring each Kindergarten student’s own, hand-sewn puppet, the show was live streamed to parents, grandparents, and each Parker classroom. (*Please click on the image above to watch the Kindergarten performance)

We were also treated to a PreK costume parade that classes enjoyed watching from their doorways. Later in the day, our 3-4s performed a puppet show featuring their own hand-crafted puppets, which they used to act out their interpretations of stories from African folklore. And this afternoon, our 5th grade class participated in a fairy-tale mock trial.
Throughout the day, students also enjoyed viewing the jackdaws that various families submitted. Some classes also participated in a RAAD scavenger hunt organized by our 3-4 teacher, Nellie Barker. Individual grades also got outdoors to participate in “Story Walks” that were created and installed by each class in our woods. These “Walks” allow students to enjoy reading outdoors as they physically move through a story, page-by-page, that is installed along an outdoor path. These walks will stay up for the next month for our students (and families) to enjoy during non-school hours.
As a final, special way of honoring this day of literacy, we surprised our English Language Arts teacher, Ian Marvinney, with a gift to honor the next generation of reading. Ian and his wife, Andrea, are expecting their first child in mid-March. In celebration of this life-changing occasion, every faculty member and each middle school class selected and inscribed a book to contribute to the baby’s first Little Library. Our middle school students were so excited to present Ian with his gift today, and afterwards they were all treated to an impromptu read-a-aloud by the soon-to-be dad. It was a touching reminder of power that reading has to connect us to each other, the present moment, and the future.
Click on the image below for a private link to watch this our Virtual Costume “Parade”!