OUR VIEW: Teachers keep students active during Reading Month

Reading with buddies.

Reading with flashlights.

Reading while dressed as their favorite characters.

Students all around Manistee County have been busy as bees throughout the whole month reading everything they can get their hands on and often as part of fun activities.

Reading Month is a national event celebrated each March designed to promote reading outside the classroom and demonstrate the importance of children’s social and intellectual development.

Reading is more important than ever in the elementary level at schools. State mandates have been issued that all children must be reading at a third grade level when they reach that grade. In order to reach that goal, all school districts are stepping up the importance of acquiring good reading skills.

We want to congratulate the students on all of the books they read throughout the month. At Bear Lake Elementary, students read a combined total of 1,250 books in a matter of weeks. That in part was inspired by a promise from principal Sarah Harless and superintendent Marlen Cordes to be duct taped to the wall if they met their goal.

Students at all the other county schools also read numerous books and were also encouraged by a variety of incentives and challenges.

The News Advocate also gives kudos to all the teachers, administrators, parents, public officials and anyone else who took the time to go into a classroom this month to read to students. There are many benefits to reading aloud to children, from promoting language development to building curiosity and memory.

Teachers and administrators also deserve praise for coming up with unique and creative ways to get children to read and keep them interested.

At Manistee Catholic Central, middle school and high school students joined the fun, dressed as camp counselors, to read their favorite books to the children at a “campout”.

Krystal Magee at KND Elementary came up with several creative activities for her students. One day they participated in Read-a-Latte, reading books while enjoying hot chocolate with marshmallows and for Pi Day, March 14, Magee read “Sir Cumference And The Dragon of Pi” while students enjoyed personal pies.

Students at Jefferson Elementary in Manistee celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and each Friday in one classroom, students read in pairs with flashlights.

At Onekama Elementary School, students’ reading was interrupted by mischievous leprechauns on March 16. Students gathered clues and supplies, and set out to find the leprechaun and stop his troublemaking.

But it was students in Bear Lake who perhaps got the best deal in the county. For reading more than the 1,000 books that they were challenged to read, students were allowed to duct tape their principal and superintendent to the wall of the gym. How cool is that?

A big thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Reading Month a huge success. We encourage everyone to check out our special Reading Month section in today’s paper for a peak at what students did during the month.

Student success is the focus of all school districts in Manistee County and to achieve that goal in all areas, the first step of the process is to have good reading and comprehension skills. Without those basic building blocks behind a student the opportunity to succeed in math, science, English and social studies is greatly limited.

However, we realize that teachers only have students in their classrooms for a limited time during a school day and year. That is why encourage parents to be the true guiding force in seeing that their child acquires good reading skills, and that means working with them at home beyond Reading Month.

Turn off the television, shut down the video games and get your kids to read. We guarantee it will be the best gift you ever give them, and someday they will thank you for it.

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