The Transylvania Times -

Students Explore Magical World Of Reading – Brevard NC


Kira Riddle, Malford Jeter and Jaelynn Jeter pose as Dr. Seuss's Lorax and Cat in the Hat at literacy night.

Brevard Elementary students, parents and staff threw a two-week extravaganza to celebrate and cultivate reading.

"It is essential for students to develop a purpose and a love for reading at an early age," said BES instructional coach Carrie Norris, who planned the activities. "By devoting two weeks to various literature-based activities, we hope a spark was created that will last."

Kicking off the effort, the school hosted a Title 1 Literacy Night on Feb. 23. In addition to a pizza dinner, parents enjoyed sampling grade-specific presentations from a menu of reading, math, and media literacy offerings, including Internet safety information.

Teachers offered tips and strategies so parents could feel confident about supporting their children's reading at home.

The next day as part of World Read Aloud Day, "Mystery Readers" from the staff shared their favorite stories, bringing alive the power of words and participating in a global effort to demonstrate that the right to literacy belongs to all people.

Teacher Anna Harris noted that participating imparted a local sense of community, too: "I read to a second grade class and they loved it. I discovered that my own fourth graders loved it just as much. Some of the second graders were siblings to my students so they thought that was pretty cool."

Fourth grade teacher Karen Kreigsman chose a picture book about teeth for the class she visited. Kreigsman noticed that the kindergarteners made personal and community connections with the story.

"Everybody had a story about teeth and the dentist and they all wanted to tell it at the same time," she said. "It was fun and it was such a happy atmosphere."

Like Harris and her students, Kreigsman enjoyed discovering family connections, saying, "The kindergarteners seemed to enjoy my reading visit. I had taught several of their parents, so that was fun."

World Read Aloud activities highlighted more connections in the reading community, including those usually behind the scenes. Instructional technology specialist Alyse Hollings-worth said, "I read 'Soap Soap Don't Forget the Soap' by Tom Birdseye. Media Specialist Charlene Cali helped me choose it. She gave me several ideas for books dealing with North Carolina since that is part of the curriculum."

Their selection was a hit, Hollingsworth indicates. "Kids were repeating the line 'Soap soap don't forget the soap!' by the time I finished the book," she said.

Reveling in their own reading selections the next week, BES students observed three days of Read Across America Day dress-up fun. With a nod to Seuss's book "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins," students wore funny hats on March 1st, on "Hats off to Books" day. On March 2, observing Dr. Suess's birthday with his book "Wacky Wednesday," students donned silly clothing combinations and accessories. And just as unexpected events surprised the child in Seuss's "Wacky Wednesday," visitors surprised BES students: Brevard High School football players popped into classrooms to read aloud Seuss books.

"I was a part of Read Across America while playing in college," said BHS football coach Craig Pritchett. "Servant leadership is a big part of our football program, but many players had not done anything like this before. They were nervous and excited about reading in front of classes, and they could not stop talking about it on the way back to BHS."

Football player Samuel Kicklighter said, "I selected "The Sneetches" because it is my favorite Dr. Seuss story. The first graders listened closely and wanted me to keep reading."

Thursday was Book Character Day, with costumed students portraying their reading interests.

"It was magical!" said Cali. "Everywhere I turned, there was a character from a book. I had my picture made with The Cat In The Hat, I helped Fancy Nancy check out a book. I read a story to Tom Sawyer, Thing Two, and Captain Underpants. As I looked around the library it was as if characters from beloved children's books had escaped the pages from their stories, jumped down from the library shelves, and were entertaining us with their personalities."

"It was exciting to see so many of our children embracing their favorite book characters and making stories come alive through their imaginations," said Cali.

BHS football player Jared Johnson reads to Ms. Guice's second graders on Read Across America day

For more information on Title 1, World Read Aloud Day, and Read Across America Day, visit the following websites:, and To volunteer at Brevard Elementary School or other Transylvania Bullock, principal intern, Brevard Elementary School or other Transylvania County schools, visit http://tcsnc .org/Page/3020.

(Bullock is a principal intern at Brevard Elementary School.)


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