Reading has been the focal point at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School, which is celebrated Parents as Reading Partners month in March. The theme is “Let’s Read a Latte.”
Guest readers have visited classrooms including parents, community members, district administrators and board of education trustees. During her visit to a sixth-grade class, Superintendent Dr. Mary T. Kelly said that reading is a way for people to use their imagination and also to learn about the world.
The PARP program began on what would have been the 113th birthday of popular children’s author Dr. Seuss. Students were encouraged to wear pajamas to school to make reading synonymous with comfort. Mystery Mondays featured schoolwide announcements in which students had to guess either a mystery reader or the message of a mystery poem. Parents and their children came together on PARP Reading Night for various literacy activities, such as writing the ending to a story and drawing pictures based on their favorite books.
Students throughout the school are keeping track of their independent reading time at home. Each week, the children with the most minutes receive prizes such as books, bookmarks and pencils. Principal Robyn Santiago said that the books being given away were based on student input so they would receive titles that they enjoy. She also said that in classes, teachers are matching students with books that fit their interests.
“If you enjoy something, you’re going to do more of it and you’re going to do better,” she said of the school’s effort to build a reading community. “We hope that PARP instills a love of reading in the students.”
At the end of the month, the grade with the most combined reading minutes wins a hot chocolate party, and the top student in the school receives two tickets to a Brooklyn Nets basketball game.