“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss

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 chose 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. We began the day in the gym with songs and a buddy parade, led by The Cat in the Hat. Afterwards, our lower school students were treated to a puppet show performed by Ivy Vine Puppets. Students then returned to their classrooms for a morning of author visits.

Author and Parker friend Syvlie Kantorvitz visited our PreK and K-1 classrooms, where she read to the students and illustrated a group inspired picture with each class. Meanwhile, Parker favorite Matt McElligott visited our 2-3 class and previewed his brand new book, “Do Not Eat the Game!” The 2-3 class was thrilled to learn they are the first group to see this new book presentation. Matt also shared science facts from his series “Mad Scientist Academy”, and he previewed a song from his “Benjamin Franklinstein” musical that will be in production at Sage College in May.
Students in our 4-5 class enjoyed a morning of storytelling and Native American legends with Jim Bruchac. Many of these students read Jim’s works “Children of the Longhouse” and “Eagle Song” as part of their Native American study earlier this fall. Jim also shared some of his newest writing, and spoke with the children about the publishing world and what his career as an author entails. 
Middle School students spent the morning with Steve Sheinkin, author of many young adult nonfiction novels. Steve began his career as an author of history textbooks. However, as Steve shared with our students, he quickly learned that the textbook manufacturers were not interested in all the quirky facts he found compelling to round out historical perspectives. So, Steve decided to strike out on his own. He now writes nonfiction novels about real events in history. Steve spoke passionately to our students about pursuing their interests and grounding their writing in research — two topics that resonate deeply with our Parker middle schoolers.

Students finished the day with a storytelling presentation by Kent Busman in our auditorium, followed by some much needed wiggle time out in the woods, playground, and fields. Everyone will be ready for a good bedtime story tonight!