Local schools kick off March is Reading Month

FEELING GROOVY: Crossroads Charter Academy teacher Shannon Kostecki holds up her selection for March is Reading Month, "The Little Boy Who Lost His Name." CCA students, parents and teachers will attempt to read 250,000 minutes in March, if they succeed, Principal Chris White will dye his hair pink. (Pioneer photo/Adam Gac)

FEELING GROOVY: Crossroads Charter Academy teacher Shannon Kostecki holds up her selection for March is Reading Month, “The Little Boy Who Lost His Name.” CCA students, parents and teachers will attempt to read 250,000 minutes in March, if they succeed, Principal Chris White will dye his hair pink. (Pioneer photo/Adam Gac)

BIG RAPIDS — Some area schools took advantage of the leap day to add an extra 24 hours to reading month.

Crossroads Charter Academy and Brookside Elementary School both hosted “March is Reading Month” assemblies on Monday, Feb. 29 to help their students start March with as much positive energy and momentum as possible.

At Crossroads, a trio of teachers sang a parody rendition of the Jackson Five’s “ABC” to kick off a mission to read 250,000 minutes during the month of March, as well as a number of other activities. Reading month is awesome because everybody loves to read, according to Sarah Lancaster, CCA fourth-grade teacher.

“I had trouble reading growing up. Once I got the hang of it, giving reading back to the kids became my passion,” she said. “We have a lot of things we’ve planned for this month. Kids can win tickets to a White Caps baseball game, make reading buddies and we are trying to read a quarter of a million minutes as a whole school.”

If students, along with teachers and parents from CCA, are able to reach their reading minute goal, Principal Chris White has vowed to dye his hair and become Principal Pink. After announcing the reading goal, CCA teachers approached the front of the auditorium to show the books they selected for their students to enjoy over the coming month.

As the students at CCA were learning which books they would be reading in class, students at Brookside were meeting their March is Reading Month mascot. Cries of excitement and gasps filled the school gymnasium as Title I reading teacher Jennifer Bentley pulled away a blanket to reveal Humphrey, a hamster.

Humphrey, whose interests include food pellets and hiding in a ball under his bedding, is taking up residence in the Brookside library. During reading month, students at the elementary school will read “The World According to Humphrey,” by Betty G. Birney, the story of Humphrey the hamster’s life in Room 26 – including his time in the classroom and his adventures going home with students.

“Every child receives a book to take home. It’s intended to build excitement and love for reading. We are all going to read the same book, one chapter a night,” Bentley said. “We also have Friday dress-up days. Tuesday will be healthy Humphrey snack days and at the end we are going to bring in the Zorb balls from Cran-Hill Ranch and the students will be able to ride in them like human hamsters.”

 

Students of the elementary school will be able to see Humphrey as they pass by or visit the library. His cage is on a wheeled cart, so teachers also can bring him to classrooms for students to meet him.

The Parent Teacher Organization supported the school’s participation in the “One School, One Book” program that will provide all of the students with a copy of “The World According to Humphrey,” Bentley said. In the classrooms, everybody received a stuffed hamster and will have the opportunity to take home a 2-dimensional hamster, a combination of Humphrey and Flat Stanley, she added.

“Our PTO was kind enough to help support this program – through the walkathon in the fall we were able to earn enough to buy one book for every child. We also received a video and a personalized letter from the author,” she said. “It’s all about making reading fun and building the connection between school and home.”

 

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Posted by Adam Gac

Adam is the Pioneer City/County Reporter, covering government in Mecosta County. He can be reached by e-mail at agac@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8347.

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