Today was our annual Storybook Parade now renamed as “Storybook Celebration”. The name change comes because we have expanded what this day means for our school. Rather than just have an assembly and a parade dressed as storybook characters, we used the entire day to celebrate the joy of reading.
Students began the day with guest readers arriving in their room to read story. We’ve never done guest readers as a part of storybook celebration, and it was a challenge to find people. Many of my regular guest readers were unavailable, and I found myself struggling for readers. The power of digital communication and social networking came through for me though. Many thanks to Jen McDowell, David Ragsdale, Ellen Sabatini, and several other unnamed parents who willingly recruited readers for our classrooms. We ended up having 2 readers in almost every room. Here are a few of the reactions & reflections from some of our high school readers this morning:
My experience with reading to the Kindergarten students at Barrow Elementary today was very fulfilling. The kids interacted and seem to respond to me asking them question that related to the book. And it made me day to be asked out by a kindergarten student today. Seeing their faces light up while reading to one my personal favorite child hood stories was absolutely amazing.– Jackie GordonThe reading was fun. I think the kids were excited. A lot of them already knew the story and wanted to help me read it. The teachers were very nice, too.-Jada HaynesReading to younger kids has always been an uplifting experience for me. Reading to the kindergartners at Barrow Elementary was no exception. The kids engaged in the story, were respectful, and were very cute. I had a great time and really enjoyed sharing books with elementary school students.-Henry SiebentrittI had such a great time reading with the kindergardeners! I went to Barrow for seven years and it brought back so many good memories. The class I read to was the cutest ever and it seemed like they were interested in what we were reading to them. I want to go back next time there is an opportunity like this!-Chloe AlexanderI really enjoyed reading at Barrow this morning. I was in a 2nd grade class and I read A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade. It was a fun and cute story and the students seemed to enjoy it. One girl was especially enthusiastic about the pirates. A parent read a story about a square pumpkin before me and I enjoyed listening to him. This was a great experience overall. I loved getting to share such a fun book with kids and getting to be back in an elementary school again.– Katie GoogeMy experience at Barrow Elementary was fantastic and very nostalgic. I had a lot of fun reading to the second graders and seeing my old teachers. I hope my other classmates enjoyed this experience as much as I did.-Michelle LegetteThere is a kind of magic that pervades the classrooms, offices, and halls of an elementary school, Barrow in particular. Upon entering the school, it is impossible not to be enveloped in a kind of warmth. When we went to read, I was immediately drawn to the bright decorations adorning the school, crafted by students, and the enthusiastic, costume-clad staff ready for the wonderful Storybook Parade. Although in a different building, this day, this atmosphere, this school is exactly the way I remember– it is as joyful as it ever was. Seeing children at this age is so special, because there is so much excitement for everything–to read a book, to dress up, to walk in the halls. The love for learning in this school is nearly tangible. I loved getting to come back and enjoy stories together, focusing on appreciating each next sentence and page. Thanks for setting this up!–Dory MacMillanI had a fantastic time reading to the children.They were good listeners and I was happy to be there. It brought back good memories of my time at Barrow Elementary.-Patrick HumphreyIt was nice to go back to elementary school and read to kids. I enjoyed their costumes and appreciated their interest in the book I read.-Nida JavaidToday, volunteers were given the opportunity to read at Barrow Elementary. I read a book by Lemony Snicket, 13 Words, That taught the kids words like “despondent.” Reading to the costumed kids was an enjoyable –experience, and more people should do it.– Alanna Pierce
Following the readers, we enjoyed our huge outdoor space at our temporary school by going out to the fitness loop (track). Grade levels sat together along the inside perimeter of the loop. Parents and guests sat on the outside of the loop. Each grade level stood and paraded around the fitness loop while the whole school cheered them on. I served as the announcer and read blurbs from each grade level and some individual classes.
After the parade, 5th graders enjoyed some hot chocolate while the rest of the school went back inside to begin reading activities for the rest of the day. Grade levels individually planned how they would spend the day. All of the specials teachers and the library offered literature-related activities for classes to sign up in the place of their specials. For a 30-minute block, teachers had common planning time while their class was at a “special”.
In the library, I read election-related books such as Grace for President, Duck for President, My Teacher for President, Babymouse for President, and Otto for President. After reading some of these (and looking at a few others), students used our 10 iPads and a Google form to vote for which storybook character should be president. Once voting was complete, we analyzed the results on the smart board and saw who was taking the lead throughout the day. The students and I used my phone to tweet the live election results via our media center twitter account and facebook page.
It was a busy day with many kinds of reading taking place across the day. Now, we’re ready for a 3-day weekend!