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March is Reading Month emphasizes fun in books

By: April Lehmbeck | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 7, 2011

 Schools have gotten their March is Reading Month programs under way, and that includes Dort Elementary in Roseville, which held its kick-off assembly late last month.  Kindergarten student Shauntez Phillips walks with his free copy of “Because of Winn-Dixie” that was given to all the students.

Schools have gotten their March is Reading Month programs under way, and that includes Dort Elementary in Roseville, which held its kick-off assembly late last month. Kindergarten student Shauntez Phillips walks with his free copy of “Because of Winn-Dixie” that was given to all the students.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — There’s a month every year when characters from books come to life at local elementary schools across the country.

It’s that time of year again: March is Reading Month is under way, and locally, schools in Eastpointe and Roseville are having a blast with a number of activities.

“We are doing a pirate theme for reading month, ‘ARRRReading is Terrific Matey!’” East Detroit Public Schools’ Forest Park Elementary Principal Gerald St. Onge said. “The students will have individual and classroom goals. For each book/chapter they read, they will fill out information on a small pirate ship, which will be hung in the hallways.

“The goal is to encircle the entire school with a fleet of pirate ships,” he said. “Also, each classroom will have a treasure chest on the door. As classroom goals are reached, ‘gold coins’ will be put into the treasure chest.”

The principal was considering dressing up as Captain Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean” for the kick-off assembly at that school.

Other schools are planning their own creative activities for the month.

Dort Elementary in Roseville Community Schools kicked off its program late last month. Students were given a copy of “Because of Winn-Dixie,” which was purchased for the students by the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization. The students also participated in fun activities for the kick-off assembly.

“We decorate the library and hallway to coordinate with the book and theme,” said Dort teacher Teresa Tomala.

Teachers read the book in class, and parents are asked to do so at home while students work on a packet of activities that are inspired by the theme of the book, Tomala said.

“We are having Spirit Days throughout the month: ‘Wear an Animal Shirt, Hat or Button Day,’ ‘Read My Shirt Day’ and ‘Pajama Day,’” Tomala said. “Activities at the reward day will include making dog bone-shaped cookies, creating a bottle for a bottle tree similar to the one in the book, using an online maze from the book’s website, as well as playing a ‘Jeopardy’ game with questions connected to the book.”

At Dort, the month will culminate with the film based on the book being shown during a family movie night March 31.

“We are serving ‘puppy chow’ as a snack along with ‘dump punch,’” Tomala said.

The theme at Pleasantview in Eastpointe is “Climb Aboard Pleasantview’s Author Express.”

“We have a month of calendar activities for our students in grades kindergarten to sixth-grade,” Principal Jerry Tait said. “Our goal is to have every student at Pleasantview read at home every night. Classroom door decorating will occur, (and) ‘Read My Hat Day,’ where every child will wear a hat when reading on Friday. Each classroom teacher is planning on some type of event in their classroom.”

Kaiser in Roseville has a number of activities planned for its students, as well.

“To kick off March is Reading Month, our sixth-graders performed an entertaining and motivating song,” said Kaiser Principal Laurie Kinch. “Throughout the month, Kaiser will be participating in several reading activities, such as ‘Read a Shirt/Button/Hat Day.’ Classes will partner up and read together … (and ) to end the month, the entire school will have a schoolwide read-in.”

Steenland Elementary teacher Laney Kosarek said the school got the students motivated for reading with ice cream and a movie on a big screen.

“March is Reading Month is so much fun,” she said. “Living biographies are being presented.”

They also are hosting a number of guest speakers at the school, Kosarek said.

At East Detroit’s Bellview Elementary, students are going to outer space for reading with the theme “Help the Aliens Get Back to Their Planet.”

“The aliens need fuel for their ship,” Bellview Principal Rosemary Monsour said. “Reading earns fuel cards that are used to help fill up the alien ship. The students can earn one fuel card per week by reading a pre-determined number of minutes per week, books read, or Accelerated Reader points or tests read.

“There will be a culminating event for students who receive at least three fuel cards during March is Reading Month,” she said.

Crescentwood in East Detroit schools had its kick-off assembly late last week.

“Our theme this year is ‘Reading Rocks!’ and our motto is ‘Rock out and Read,’” said Ron Smith, a paraprofessional at the school. “We have also changed a few of the lyrics from the song ‘I’m a Believer’ by the Monkeys to now say ‘I’m a good Reader.’ I will be singing the song to the assembly.

“One other cool item is a custom-made logo that we had screened onto T-shirts,” he said. “The entire staff bought in to wear the shirt on ‘Dress Like a Rock Star Day.’ We also are awarding the top-three readers in every grade level a similar T-shirt and medal.”
 

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