Third-grader Bryce McQueen’s mind remained on sports, even as he perused the geography/travel table at Greensburg Elementary School.
The school’s annual Reading Adventure was held during the school day Wednesday for the first time in its three-year history. That led to a far larger crowd than normal, thanks to parents not having to arrange after-school transportation.
But the point of the event remained the same: Help children find their fields of interest so they develop a lifelong love for reading.
Researchers say reading does more than just expand children’s vocabulary, according to Reading by Phonics, a national organization that studies the benefits of reading. It also helps them excel academically, helps them build self confidence and gives them a mind-expanding alternative to sitting in front of a television.
Donna Fong, the school’s Title 1 coordinator, had those kinds of facts in mind when Title 1 initiated the program in 2011.
Title 1, by definition, is for children from economically disadvantaged families. But school officials decided even before the first year that the Reading Adventure program should be opened up to all 158 third-graders in the school.
What resulted on Wednesday was a four-hour event that saw third-graders circulate every 15 minutes among 13 stations, each with its own genre. Those genres included science, biographies, sports, history, fairy tales and mysteries.
They also included hands-on stations. Representatives from the Greensburg Public Library, for example, brought a Bearded Dragon lizard for children to touch at the animals station. Teachers who manned a how-to station showed children how to make pinwheels out of paper strips, roll-on glue and stick handles.
Children enjoyed every minute of it as they sat cross-legged on the floor, listening to the adults at each station read to them.
McQueen said during his time at the geography/travel station that he wants to travel to New York City. Even so, he said he mostly enjoyed the sports station because of his passion for football. New York? Maybe he could catch a Yankees game there.
At the how-to station, third-grader Dawson Imel asked Katie Weintraut if he was folding a strip of paper correctly to make a pinwheel. Weintraut told him he was doing a good job, drawing a slight smile from Imel as he continued working.
“We’re sparking their interest,” said Kim Meyer, literary coach at the elementary school, about all the event’s features. “That’s what it’s about.”
Contact: Paul Minnis 812-663-3111, x7401; firstname.lastname@example.org