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Week aims to get children reading

POSTED: January 3, 2009 5:00 a.m.
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Mrs. Wood and Ms. Smith's classes get together for a reading.

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Schools in Liberty County recently celebrated the importance of reading and children's literature. Students took part in a variety of special events and activities.

The Liberty County Pre-K Center celebrated Children's Book Week, Nov. 17-21. Melissa McCallar, media specialist, organized a fun filled week for staff and students. The week kicked off with a school-wide door decorating contest. The winning door was to Mrs. Scroggins and Ms. Gibbs' classroom.

Each day of the week, students and staff dressed down to show their love for books. Students and staff wore crazy socks, hats, sunglasses and mismatched clothing to show their enthusiasm for reading. The week concluded with students and staff dressing as their favorite children's book characters and parading through the school and the adjacent board of education office.

Tory Baker, media specialist at Button Gwinnett Elementary, planned a week jammed with fun. Classrooms honored their favorite books with a door decorating contest. Individually, students created colorful illustrations celebrating their favorite books. The drawings were combined to create a school storybook quilt.

Students were challenged to read 4,000 books in four days. Students were so motivated they surpassed the goal and read 5,532 books.

The culminating event to the week was on Nov. 21. Students and staff dressed as their favorite book characters and paraded throughout the school and to the gym for an Amazing Tricycle Race. Students were delighted to see their favorite teachers and staff maneuvering tricycles in the race. Mr. Adams, the music teacher, and Mrs. Medina, first grade paraprofessional, won the race!

Frank Long Elementary students enjoyed a plethora of activities and reading challenges, planned by their media specialist, Melissa Sands. Each day of the week students competed in the "Name the Book" trivia contest while watching the FLE Morning News. Top readers from each grade received a READ bookmark featuring their own pictures.

Students in each grade worked to become the Accelerated Reader top point earners for their grade levels to go on a special lunch with Principal Mr. Carrier and their teachers. Students were challenged to earn 650 AR points, and they surpassed the goal by earning an astounding 2,752 points for the week.

Students and teachers also participated in several reading themed dress down days. Nov. 19, students and teachers wore pajamas for a Read in Lock in. Guest readers visited classrooms. Guest readers included a fireman, policeman, emergency response personnel, Liberty County school administrators and board members. Bradwell Institute football players and cheerleaders visited to read to students also.

On Nov. 20 students enjoyed a special visit by Pam Alexander, author of the Yumion and Jeremiah series. The week concluded with students parading dressed as their favorite storybook character.

Students not only celebrated reading, but they also shared their love of reading with others by donating an estimated 300 books to the Gabriel's House during the week.

Students and staff at Jordye Bacon Elementary were invited to participate in a variety of contests and activities to celebrate children's literature planned by their media specialist Tara Griffin. Classrooms celebrated their favorite books by decorating their classroom doors. The winning doors were Ms. Price for first place with decorations for the book, "No David." Second place was a tie between Ms. Creech with "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and Dr. Brown with "The Polar Express." Volunteer guest readers visited throughout the week.

Students participated in a color contest. The coloring contest winners were Crystal Bradley, Michelle Wilfong, Daejane Know, Nathaniel Zomora and Dominic Roschmann. All classes participated in an Accelerated Reader challenge by classes. The winning classrooms were: first grade - Mrs. Gilliard, second grade - Mrs. Cardella, third grade - Mrs. Garrido, fourth grade - Ms. Lloyd, fifth grade - Mrs. Hallum.

Elaine Walker, media specialist at Joseph Martin Elementary, celebrated children's books by inviting community readers to each classroom. Throughout the week, students participated in theme-related dress down days. Teachers and students welcomed a guest speaker, children's book illustrator Michael White, who has illustrated books such as "The Library Dragon" and "Harriet's Horrible Hair Day."

He inspired students to draw along and to use their imagination, while emphasizing the importance of reading.

The week concluded with students and teachers dressing as book characters and parading through the school.

Media specialist Diana Anderson planned several fun activities for Lyman Hall Elementary students and teachers. They welcomed guest author Pam Alexander, who entertained and taught students about Georgia and United States history in a schoolwide assembly. Throughout the week, classes participated in reading challenges, art activities and trivia contests. Keeping with tradition, students enjoyed playing musical books in the media center.

Mona Phillips, media specialist at Liberty Elementary, helped students and teachers celebrate Children's Book Week from Nov. 10-14. Students participated in reading-based, dress down days. Classes were also challenged to design posters about their favorite books. Individual students entered a bookmark contest. Students and parents enjoyed an after-hours "Pajamboree", a collaborative effort with the school's home connections program. During the Pajamboree, families read together, won hourly door prizes, read to Mandy the dog, visited with Clifford the Big Red Dog, enjoyed refreshments, and shopped at a book fair. The week concluded with a field trip to the Children's Book Festival at Forsyth Park in Savannah.

Taylors Creek Elementary encouraged students to celebrate children's literature with reading competitions. Mary Lewis, media specialist, rewarded students scoring 100 percent on AR and Reading Counts quizzes on their reading levels with prizes. The students in each grade level who earned the most points won store cards. The winners were Jacob Boyer, Daniel Dayutis, Cassidy O'Neal, Ja'Vonte Lecounte, Tiana Johnson and Mckaylin Darsey.

Throughout the week, students participated in a book trivia contest and created book inspired artwork.

Roxanne Lee, media specialist at Waldo Pafford said teachers and students at Waldo Pafford Elementary love AR. During the celebration for book week, anytime students passed an AR quiz and said, "I love AR," they earned double AR money to spend in the school AR store. Waldo Pafford also welcomed author Pam Alexander for an assembly and book signing. Families were invited to attend an evening visit with her, and to participate in AR as part of a parent/family involvement night.

Students enjoyed wearing pajamas to school one day during the week as part of a school-wide "Read In." The week of activities included students and teachers parading as their favorite book characters. The icing on the cake was when the classes that passed the most AR quizzes in three days earned the right to toss a pie at their favorite teachers.

Each of the middle schools also celebrated children's literature during Nov. 17-21.

Lewis Frasier Middle School reminded students and teachers of the importance of reading a variety of genres. All teachers received a "Read-a-Day" calendar for the month. Sharon Dunham, media specialist, invited students to enjoy a Reading Café' in the media center to reward students who earned 50 AR points. Students sipped warm beverages like hot coca with marshmallows, tea and apple cider.

Cristina Dover, media specialist at Midway Middle School, helped students and teachers celebrate the week with a variety of activities. Students participated in a Story Starter creative writing competition. Students were given a snippet of famous short stories and were asked to finish the story. Students Rodney Roberson, Shannon Breeden and Angela Pavey.

Students also participated in media center scavenger hunts. Classes visited the media center to play library bingo, to listen to book talks and to play library basketball.

Events culminated in a school-wide read-in. Not only did students and staff enjoy children's literature during this special week, but they also donated 89 books to the children at Gabriel House.

Kathy Webb, media specialist at Snelson Golden Middle School, encouraged students to "pop open a good book" and read. As part of the popcorn-themed celebration, students were challenged to complete a media literacy skills scavenger hunt that required them to review how to use the online catalog, GeorgiA LIbrary LEarning Online, and other resources. Students were also challenged to earn 75 AR points. Students who earned the 75 points or who successfully completed the Media Center Challenge were invited to a special "Books to Movies" showing of "Journey to the Center of the Earth," and got popcorn and soda.

Also during the week, as part of the school-wide AR program, select classes of students participated in a video conference with students in Nikolia, Alaska. During the conference Snelson-Golden students learned about challenges that Nikolia students face, such as the $9 a gallon price for gas and the 300-mile trip to the nearest McDonalds.

Editor's note: Much of the leg work for this story was done by Jaine Rearly, a media coordinator and ITS for Liberty County schools

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