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READING DAY: School Gets PLEA | Arts & Culture

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By Jennifer Lane

The National Education Association’s Read Across America Day is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Suess.  Fort Dodge students celebrated the day with various events.

Students at Duncombe Elementary participated in a read-a-loud with Jeff Herzberg, Chief Administrator of the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency (PLAEA).  PLAEA staff  reached out to the schools in their district to read with students and then donate the books to their classrooms.  Herzberg read two books to a group of first graders, asking the students questions and for predictions about the stories as he read.

“I am excited about the impact that PLAEA can have by taking the first step of reading to a classroom of children and leaving books behind,” said Herzberg.  “I hope that someday these children can ‘pay it forward’ and read to someone else or to continue to increase their own reading skills by reading to their parents, grandparents or other caring adults.”

Preschoolers at Riverside Early Learning Center enjoyed “Dr. Seuss Day.”  One class even sported Dr. Seuss “Cat in the Hat” hats during the day.  Students practiced counting and rhyming skills, completed an art activity and participated in a gross motor activity all with Dr. Seuss themes adding fun to the educational lessons.

Rosie Ellendson, Elementary Reading Coordinator/Literacy Coach, engaged first graders at Cooper Elementary in Read Across America Day.  She conducted a “6 Thinking Hats” activity to help develop the students’ comprehension skills.  The “6 Hats” are varying colors and help students think about the story from different perspectives: what are the facts of the story, what feelings did the story evoke, what part of the story was least interesting, what positive came from the story, how might the story have ended differently and what was the author’s message.  These perspectives help the students use higher thinking skills and help them remember the story better.

“These types of events are so important because motivating kids to read is an important piece in student achievement,” stated Ellendson.  “Research shows that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.”

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