East Detroit schools prepare for March is Reading Month

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 5, 2014


EASTPOINTE — As the calendar moves on from February, local elementary schools are planning for March is Reading Month — a month-long push to get kids reading more books.

Each of the Eastpointe-based schools is holding their own unique take on the month, with exclusive events and themes. An article detailing Roseville’s programs is in the works for next week’s paper.

At Crescentwood Elementary, secretary Lisa Rattee said the school has a popcorn theme, “Pop into Reading,” permeating the month. As each student reads, she said, they would place a paper “popcorn” inside a popcorn bag outside the classroom with the student’s name and the name of the book they finished.

“They will estimate the number of kernels and popped popcorn, and prizes will go to the student that guesses the closest,” Rattee said.

Students will also be completing paper popcorn slips as they read, which will go in a pretend popcorn maker. Each day, three names will be drawn, Rattee said, and the kids will get to eat lunch at the movie theater-decorated stage in the gym with a friend.

Rattee said students also will get to take accelerated reader tests, and if they pass, they can earn classroom or personal rewards, depending on the grade level. She added that a number of guest readers — such as state Rep. Sarah Roberts, 38th District Court Judge Carl Gerds and Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham — have already been lined up to read to students during the month.

Ron Smith, literacy paraprofessional with Pleasantview Elementary, said his school has a Mexican theme, “Reading Fiesta.”

“‘Dip into a good book’ — that’s our motto,” Smith said.

Each classroom will have specific reading goals each week for the first three weeks, and Smith said the last week would feature a reading fiesta with a movie and tacos March 26 for students who received points for reading each week.

There also will be a board in the hall where each classroom can keep track of how many books they read, he said, and March 19 will see the “Reading Rock-a-thon” event all day in the gym.

“We bring in rocking chairs to the gym, and teachers can send a handful of students throughout the day to read in the rocking chair in the gym,” Smith said. “So at all times in the day, there will be someone in the rocking chairs, reading.”

Nichole German, principal at Bellview Elementary said that her school was looking beyond the students to bring literacy to the broader community. Her March is Reading Month program culminates with a communitywide event March 27, where hands-on activities and workshops for parents — about financial and health literacy — and vendors will all be at the school.

In addition to having guest readers, like Roberts and Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley, German said the school plans to have dogs from “Fur Angels” come to the school for kids to snuggle up with and read books.

Bellview also has a student going to Grand Rapids in March for winning a “young author’s kaleidoscope award,” German said, and 20 other students will be publishing their own books at the school during March, as well. The school will not be holding contests like some of the other elementary schools, however.

“We haven’t made an outright contest, because students each month are responsible for reading so many books in their classes,” she said.

Forest Park Elementary Principal Pamela Fry said her school has a bug theme, “We’re Buggy about Reading.” The school will have guest readers from the community and high school, and classroom teachers will have individual activities and incentives for their students, she said.

Fry said there would be daily drawings for students who are “caught reading” by their teachers, with the winners being allowed to eat lunch on the gym stage with a friend. Additionally, students and their parents can keep track of books read, she said.

“Every five books, students earn a ‘piece of the caterpillar's body’ to create a caterpillar throughout the main hallway, and enter into a drawing for the end of the month rewards,” Fry said.