In a world that increasingly preoccupies youth with technological wizardry, Delta Elementary School wants to give the joy of reading a fighting chance.
Next week, students in grades K-4 will be immersed in Right to Read Week. The annual event attempts to introduce them to the enjoyment derived from adventures they can experience through the written word.
“It’s just to promote reading with students, to get them excited about reading outside of school,” said Jill Anderson, a DES Title reading instructor. “It’s a whole week of activities that go on all day long, and it all has to do with reading.”
This year’s theme, “Pirates of the Carnival,” will include Dress Like a Pirate Day, with prizes for costumes.
On Monday, students will be entertained by Steven’s Puppets, a family-owned marionette ensemble from Bristol, Ind. Hand-carved, hand-painted wooden puppets are used to bring classic literature to children. This year’s production will be “Beauty and the Beast.”
That evening, the school will present Family Reading Night, involving the students’ families from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Reading-based activities will include partner games, Bingo, and time for family members to gather and read together. Representatives from the Delta Public Library will attend to sign up students for library cards, and the United Way of Fulton County will distribute free books.
Currently, 100 students have registered to participate. “It gets parents involved, and it’s been growing as we do it more and more,” Anderson said.
On Tuesday, students from Delta High School visit to read to the elementary students, and on Wednesday students attend a Right to Read Assembly, where they experience a Reader’s Theater, try to solve reading-based riddles, and learn a song about reading.
At 2:30 p.m. each day throughout the week, school functions stop for a period called Drop Everything and Read. Each night, students read at home, with parents logging the time spent. The night time reading can earn students prizes of free books. If the school’s students reach a collective goal of 40,000 reading minutes by week’s end they’re awarded with an outdoor carnival on Friday.
“They usually go over, so we keep raising (the minutes) each year,” Anderson said.
She said the annual event has been held for decades. “We want to get kids excited about reading. We just want to get them involved. We want to promote reading so they’re successful in all areas,” she said. “They really get into it and look forward to it every year.”
And the different theme each year gives the students exposure to topics they might not be familiar with, Anderson said.
“We’re trying to encourage kids that may not like reading to get them on board,” she added. “You have to pump kids up, because there are too many other things to be involved in. It’s not necessarily a priority for a lot of people, but this week is a priority. Hopefully, it forms a lasting habit of reading every day. Our goal is a long-lasting excitement and enjoyment in the kids.”
DES Principal Ellen Bernal said it’s always good to see so many students and their families attend Family Reading Night.
“This event has been a favorite with staff at the elementary because it helps us build a stronger connection with students’ families while strengthening students’ love of reading,” she said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.