As a reward for reading during the summer months, students at Beecher Road School got to read some more. But instead of finding a quiet place in the building, students spread out on the lawn behind the south wing on a recent sunny Friday afternoon.
This reward was their own idea said School Supt. Dr. Guy Stella. The teachers planning the summer reading program had polled students in the spring to suggest a fun thing to do. Reading out-of-doors and wear-your-pajamas-to-school day were two suggestions made.
The teachers rolled both suggestions into one fun afternoon, and students got to camp out in their pjs, brought towels and stuffed animals, along with a book of their own choice. Luckily for them, the weather was cooperative, with one of the sparkling fall days this area has seen in September.
Fifth grade teacher Katie McCollom allowed students to read a book of their choice, but she also brought the classroom book, “Running Out of Time,” which she read out loud for those crowding around her.
Back in June the Language Arts Department at the school had challenged all students to read at least 10 books over the summer. “Give Us Ten,” was the call of the day, and the students received bracelets with the motto printed on them. “In previous years we had noticed a reading slide,” said teacher Mary Vincitorio, who was instrumental in getting the program off the ground. “We were finding that kids were dropping reading levels,” she said.
The kickoff, with drum rolls and a parade, was designed to inspire kids to continue to read at home. “Remember, said School Supt. Dr. Stella when he addressed the students for an award ceremony. “We eat, we sleep and we ….?….“Read” the children finished the sentence.
The town’s Public Library also was tied into the program. If students didn’t already have one, they were encouraged to get a library card, so as to have access to the library’s wealth of titles. Children’s librarian Judy Rabin and Mary Vincitonrio traveled to New York for a book expo in the spring to find out about high-interest books. Amity Arts students created a stand-up cardboard robot, which was housed at the library for the summer. Young library patrons could stick their heads through a hole for a photograph. “It was a real community thing,” Vincitorio said.
She estimated that they got about 300 logs back. The logs also will be entered into the Governor’s Reading Challenge.