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Family Literacy Night brings out best in students

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Rocky View Elementary ENJOYS EVENING of reading, fun

Rocky View Elementary recently hosted Family Literacy Night Jan. 24, not only for families and students, but for the community as well to encourage family reading.

It’s a new event at Rocky View, and it’s designed to encourage families and students to engage in reading. The event was offered to all students at the school, with each student receiving a grade appropriate book.

Crafts mirrored the book theme that the class was working on. Other free books were offered as well to the students as they left for the evening.

“The student would do the activity with the teacher, having fun at it,” third grade teacher Leslie Gladden, said. “They then would receive a book to take home, we’re hoping that families and students will be able to read that book together.”

The event is funded under Title I, which helps fund activities such as this event.

Being a federally funded program, Title I helps increase partnership in the community to involve other stakeholders.

Rocky View Principal Debbie Arthur said it’s the most important family night the school has throughout the year because it gives teachers the opportunity to get books into the hands of her students. To get that reading motivation going is important with the help of the parents as a partner. It helps the school boost the interest of the students.

“It’s the one thing that’s the foundational level that opens the doors for other skills to increase other skills they [students] are going to need to grow in their academic career,” she said.

Arthur explained that it takes a collective effort to motivate the kids to read.

“It’s nice to increase the involvement here in the community and to make our school inviting to not just for teachers, but for students,” she said. “This is a community school and we want parents and community members to feel welcomed to come to the school.”

Moreover, literacy night is a great opportunity for parents to see their [students’] classroom in action. Prior to the event, teachers received input from the students as to which kind of books they would like to own and read.

Parents Showny and Trisha Davis came to the event, encouraged by their 9-year-old daughter Miya Davis, who is a fourth grade student at the school.

“Miya asked us to come and was bugging us about it,” Trisha Davis said, laughing. “She brought home a newsletter and even put it by the television so that we could see it.”

The family says they do a lot of reading at home and encourages it.  When the family visits bookstore outlets they tell their kids to choose any book they want, but choose a history book too.

“That’s our rule for reading, they can get any book but also a history book and talk about it,” Trisha Davis said.

Showny Davis said the literacy night event is a great way to meet other people and to be a part of his daughter’s school.

“Events like this gets me more involved with my kids, to be a part of their lives,” he said. “A little bit more than I would normally do.”

What did Miya have to say about the event?

“It’s fun and I like to read, and to get free books,” she said.

Other fun activities included making poinsettias, penguins, and even snowmen in Jennifer Fajardo’s pre-K/preschool class. She helped students make snowmen out of playdough in relation to the book, “Snowy Days,” which she has been reading to the class all week.

“With the recent snow we’ve had, I felt it was a great way to tie in the book,” she said. “I decided to use playdough and other materials for the families to make their snowman, and of course, they each received a book about snow.”

Other family nights are scheduled for the remainder of the school year such as Diversity Night, which focuses on American states. There will be samplings of food from different states as well as activities from those states.

For more information on upcoming events at Rocky View Elementary call (505) 721-4000.

By Dee Velasco
For the Sun