Union Elementary School has been very booked this week as it held its second annual “I Read to You, You Read to Me” event.
The event invites the students’ parents or guardians to come out to the school and read with their children for a few minutes at the start of the school day, between 8 and 9 a.m.
To keep everything orderly and running smoothly, each grade level was assigned one day this week for the event; yesterday was the final day of the event and was the kindergartners’ day to read with their loved ones.
Since kindergarteners are included, the school waits to hold the event in the spring, explained Union Elementary principal Dr. Linda Jewell Carr. “Kindergartners come into school in the fall not really knowing how to read, so we wait until the spring when they can read at least a few words. We want everyone to be successful in this experience.”
As part of the experience, parents read a poem that is provided by the school with their children. The lines of the poem are color coded ,yellow indicating the lines for parents to read and red indicating which lines the children should read.
The poem reinforces the importance of literacy, getting the message across to students and parents with lines such as “Reading is cool, reading is fun. Reading teaches everyone” and “Tomorrow is yours by reading you pave the way.”
“We do offer the poem in English and Spanish,” noted Carr. “We want to make sure that our students and their parents feel comfortable.This way they get to choose whether they read it in English or Spanish.”
No matter what language is being read, the goal of “I Read to You, You Read to Me” is simple — reading is an important and valuable part of education.
“It really helps us emphasize reading to our students and helps increase awareness among our parents about the importance of literacy. It shows them that literacy is critical to their children’s education and that it is important to us here at Union Elementary,” explained Carr of the event that she brought with her when she came to Union Elementary two years ago. “This was a program that was done in Wayne County when I worked there.”
Once the students and their parents have read the poem, the students then receive a coupon for the book fair which has been going on since April 10. With parents in tow, students get to turn in their coupons and pick out one free book to take home with them.
“The school bought the books and we made sure that we ordered enough so that every student would be able to get a free one,” Carr mentioned.
According to librarian Amy Pope, the school has given away 568 books to students in grades K-3 this week.
“The overall event is very exciting for students. They get so excited about getting a book to take home and filling out the sticker with their name on it that goes in the book,” said Pope. “It is also a good way for us to invite the parents out the school and to promote reading at the same time.”
The event is intended for students and their parents. “The idea or purpose of the program is to invite parents into the school for a short activity, in this case reading, with their children. That way they get to experience a moment with their child in the classroom,” said Carr.
However, Union Elementary decided to open the event to the Sampson County community as well.
“We have also had volunteers, community members, school board members, county office personnel, and Union High students come in and read with children as well,” Pope pointed out.
“It was a really great time. We always get excited when we get to go out to the schools, interact with the kids, and participate in their learning,” said Susan Warren, public relations and student services coordinator with Sampson County Schools.
Dr. Wendy Cabral, assistant superintendent for Sampson County Schools, traveled to Union Elementary this past Wednesday to read with first graders and called it “a very successful morning.”
”I enjoyed reading with them and seeing their excitement as they picked out a book to take home,” added Cabral. “It was a great opportunity for the community to be involved in the school.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.