The Ashland Beacon
School and community in partnership to help kids is part of the Fairview school system’s philosophy. In keeping with that idea, Fairview Elementary opened its doors to the community last week for Family Reading Night.
The event showcased the progress of students in reading and featured projects such as games, a “wax museum,” pizza and dancing.
“We’ve never done anything like this at the elementary school,” said principal Mo Mullins. “We wanted to have a feel-good night heading into the break, something that would involve the entire family. We wanted to bring the community and families together so everyone can see how hard our students and teachers are working.”
He explained that the kids have used the things they’ve learned through their reading programs to create projects for the special event. Preschoolers made reindeer chow and Christmas crafts to take home. The third and fourth grades set up a literacy fair. Kindergarten through second graders set up reading games and the third through fifth grade classes exhibited reading strategies.
The most popular activity was the ‘wax museum.’ Fifth grade students designed story boards of famous characters from Benjamin Franklin to Barack and Michelle Obama, and many others. The students dressed as the character they reported on, and as onlookers passed by, they would step forward, in character, and tell about themselves.
“I set out to be the first woman to fly solo around the world,” said Amelia Earhart, normally known as Aliyah Horner. Other characters included Betsy Ross, Michael Jackson, Pocahontas, and Charlie Chaplin.
“This is really about spearheading activities that give our kids opportunities of being better learners and better readers,” Mullins said. “The kids took a lot of pride in this, especially the wax museum, and I’m proud of each and every one of them.”
He explained that the event grew out the Eagle Read 20 plan, a program to promote reading for 20 minutes each night, offering incentives and rewards to students. “To me, it’s about so much more than the reward part of it, though,” Mullins said. “We want them to be excited about learning, and you can see that here tonight.”
They estimated more than 250 students, families and community members attended Family Reading Night. Mullins and a teacher registering people at the door said the school is also planning a Family Math Night in the spring, possibly on Pi Day, March 14, or May 4, often called Star Wars Day.
In Mrs. Sparks’ classroom, children and their parents sat around tables to play games with their sight words. “Kids get bored with just sight words, so we turn them into games,” she said. “Our goal is to get young readers to stop, pause during reading and think about... question, the story.”
Fairview Independent School System’s superintendent Jackie RIsden-Smith wandered the halls among the students and adults. “It is just great to see them celebrating learning,” she said.
“This was a very successful event,” Mullins said. “I think any time you can bring the school, families, and the community together, you’ve been successful. It’s just great to see the kids so excited to show their parents and others what they’ve learned. They’ve worked really hard this year.”
The evening wrapped up in the gym, with second graders presenting a reading flipbook, and reciting “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Students sang “We Wish you a Merry Christmas,” and the night ended with performances by Mrs. Brake’s and Mrs. Sparks’ dance teams.