We all know it takes a village to raise a child and Fletcher Elementary School has taken that to heart with this year's Parents as Reading Partners (PARP) program. In addition to encouraging students to read with their families for 15 minutes every night, the PARP committee including Literacy Coach Stephanie David and reading teachers Molly Frushone, Lori Bird, Mindy John and Cassie Monaghan, not only engaged parents in the process, but also connected with the local community, including the Jamestown Kiwanis, local musicians and The Post-Journal to help students understand the importance of reading.
"Our main goal with PARP is to encourage parents to read with their children at home," said David. "It is a gift families can give their children by being great role models for reading. We also try to pick a theme each year that the students will love. This year's really got the students excited, and we had great participation. We also had a lot of community involvement, which helps students see that reading is important to everyone in the local area."
PARP was so successful that the entire school read 74,175 minutes in total during the four-week program. In addition to reading 15 minutes or more a day at home, the program began with a kick-off assembly created by teachers Chris Emley and Teresina Isabella. Emley and fellow teacher Sandy Volpe were beamed in "via satellite" dressed as rock stars. They encouraged students to read, and promised if they met the school goal, they would be treated to a "rock concert" at the end. True to their word, Emley and Mrs. Isabella created a final assembly with Fletcher Elementary School teachers dressed up like rock stars and lip-synching a concert.
Pictured from left, Fletcher Elementary School students Mia Delong writes a “fan” letter to her favorite musician during a Family Literacy Night;
Each week, the school participated in different activities such as: Wednesday "Pocket Days" where students were to practice their rock star autographs, create their own rock band name and write the name of their favorite book. They also had "Fun Fridays" where students and staff could "rock" their crazy socks or hair, bring a favorite stuffed animal to school to read to, and dress like a rock star.
The school held a PTA-sponsored Family Literacy Night with stations that were manned by Fletcher Elementary School teachers and prizes donated by The Post-Journal. The stations included: write a fan letter to your favorite rock star about your love of reading, design a guitar pick, CD cover puzzles, create an autograph book, VIP badge and bookmark and fun other activities like nail painting and fake "rock star" tattoos. A special guest appearance by "The Stacks," a volunteer band consisting of talented, local musicians Paul Liuzzo, Karl Lydell, Julie Morgan and Chuck Antolina played a concert for students and their families.
During the last two weeks of PARP, the Jamestown Kiwanis Club volunteered their time to read with students in the Fletcher "Book Nook." The one-on-one interaction allowed students to see a community member's love of reading making it a valuable lesson for the students. Kiwanis Club volunteers included: Tess Kerzner, Fred Larson, Paul Robbins and Wendy Wilcox. The Jamestown Kiwanis Club also donated Dr. Seuss books to the first graders in the Fletcher After School program and spent time reading with students.
Besides donating prizes to Fletcher's Family Literacy Night, The Post-Journal also generously donated a Kindle Fire as the grand prize for the PARP program. A student was randomly chosen from all who completed the requirements for the four weeks. The winner was second grader Evan Larson.
"I thought it was awesome to win the Kindle Fire. I love to read," said Evan. "The Magic Tree House is my favorite book series. I think reading makes me smarter and I can learn more informational words and helps me in school."
At the end of the PARP program, every Fletcher Elementary School student also received a new book.