RACINE — Southern Elementary families were invited to join the fun at the Southern Family Literacy Night, dubbed “Elect to Read” on Thursday, November 8.
What resulted was a packed house of 315 students, parents, and community members that had signed in for a night of learning and a night of fun. Because of long lines, another estimated 30 or so attendees not signed-in were present.
Meg Guinther, event organizer and Literacy Coach said, “This was our biggest event ever! We are extremely happy with the support and with the work of staff and students that helped make this an overwhelming success.”
Family Literacy Night originated as an opportunity for families to enjoy and share a night of activities that reinforce the language arts standards that are now being taught during the school day.
The third graders performed a Readers’ Theater performance to open the festive event. Families were divided into six Presidential groups and rotated throughout the evening to historic sites — classrooms transformed to national landmarks — where families participated in various activities.
The groups participated in iPad use with teacher Beth Bay; a scavenger hunt with teachers Jenny Manuel and Misty Rogers; a game room with Patty Struble and Kaylen Spradling; a reading room with afterschool coordinator Brenna Call; Build-A-Book with Lori Sharp; and a gallery walk with Patty Cook and Joe Cornell.
Jenny Manuel and Carolyn Robinson teamed up for registration.
Then families collaborated to visit entertaining and educational language arts and reading sessions. Rounding out the evening’s events, Southern Local’s first graders sang a medley of patriotic songs.
Prizes donated by local business were given out during the event. Chuck Evans won the $25 Walmart Card, Becky Jackson won the $25 Sunoco Gas Card, and first grader Dillon Hupp won the Kindle.
As is tradition, everyone left with a book donated through Title I book-fair. Food and refreshments were provided through PTO and the Principal’s fund.
“Elect to Read” was the theme of the event which coincided with the past week’s national election. Southern Elementary students had a chance to vote on what refreshments would be served. They also voted on one of three things they would like to see happen to their principal, Kent Wolfe. They chose among these mischievous choices: Wolfe duct taped to the wall, eating fried worms, or Wolfe as a rapper.
In one of the more popular events of the night, Wolfe had to eat fried worms.
“It’s strange what you can get off Ebay,” said Meg Guinther Literacy Coach for Southern Elementary. “That’s where I got the real worms and crickets! But this was all in the name of reading and helping our students learn that reading is indeed important.”
Wolfe concurred, “anything to keep these kids interested in their academics. Making learning fun is what it takes sometimes to get them motivated.”
“Even if it is at my expense,” Wolfe joked. “It’s for a great cause!”
A librarian from the Meigs County District Public Library was on hand to promote reading and literacy, setting up a table with a book exchange. Also, in alignment with the theme, students voted on the food that was served — nachos and cheese.
Guinther concluded, “getting the students excited about reading, having fun, and inspiring students to read well is what this is all about. Having the parents step it up like they did tonight was fantastic. We appreciate the support.”
Other stations were ran by Call; Shawn Riffle, staff social worker; Rogers; Manuel; Robinson; Spradling; Struble; Cook; Cornell; Bay; Debra Harris; Dawn Hill, Jenny Roush; Amy Roush; and Kelly Pape, who presented student movies. Also, Lori Warden and Elizabeth Johnson helped set up activities, and Debra Wallace helped decorate, while contributing original thematic artwork.
Administrative Assistant Scott Wolfe said, “The turnout tonight was overwhelming. Our parental involvement is always good here at Southern and that is a big part of our success. Tonight parent involvement was GREAT!”
Superintendent Tony Deem and High School principal Daniel Otto were also on hand for the event in support of the Literacy team.
Scott Wolfe concluded, “Once again it took a lot of work from a lot of people. Our teachers once again have outdone themselves, and Meg, Vicki, and Brenna did an outstanding job with organizing the program. Thanks again to all staff, volunteers, parents, community and students. Good job!”
Southern will host a Math night and a Math and Science Expo later in the school year.