It’s been said the world opens up for a child once they learn to read. For the students at Parkview Elementary it is a skill they practice every day but Friday was a special reading day.
Parkview students and staff celebrated Mo Read in Day with a number of activities centered around the theme of “Reading Takes You Places.”
The second Friday in March has been designated as Missouri School Read-In Day. According to a news release, “reading is a vital skill no matter what the content area. Academic reading is imperative to a student’s scholastic success, but we can’t forget that reading for pleasure is essential in creating lifelong readers and learners.”
To help students understand that point, Jamie Sparks, instructional coach at Parkview, designed a day of activities to encourage a love of reading for all.
“Jamie just always finds a way to think outside the box to keep a love of reading alive,” Principal Stephanie Jackson said.
For Sparks, one of her inspirations came from the book “The Magician’s Hat,” written by Malcom Mitchell, a wide receiver for the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.
Students watched a video of Mitchell as he explained the journey he encountered that led to his love of reading.
“When I went to the University of Georgia I could only read at a junior high level,” Mitchell said in the video. “One day I went to Barnes and Noble and was asked by one of the staff if I would like to join her book club.”
Mitchell commented that after thinking about joining the club he decided he didn’t care that he was the only man or person of his young age in the group.
“I decided I didn’t care what anyone thought because here I was in a book club with a group of older women,” Mitchell said. “I decided to put in as much practice reading as I did at football.
“Football is a gift that I was given,” Mitchell commented. “I had to work to read and I consider that my greatest accomplishment.”
“The Magician’s Hat” encourages others to realize that if they follow their dreams and think about what is possible a person can become whatever they wish.
“I caught the video about Malcom Martin on the news right before the Superbowl,” Sparks said. “I wanted to share his story with the students.”
To help convey the magic of reading, Sparks invited magician James Martin to the school to perform some magic tricks for the students.
“I love getting to come and perform for the students and help to encourage them to read,” Martin said. “Today has been a blast.”
Students also had the opportunity to bring their favorite books from home to read as they curled up with their blankets and pillows they brought to help them be comfortable during their reading time.
Parkview students and teachers also dressed as tacky tourists as they embarked on their reading journey for the day.
To show the students their love of reading, teachers read some of their favorite childhood books to the students.
Although she did not read them her all-time favorite book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendack, Special Services teacher Wynee Akers proudly showed the students her copy of the book she received as a small child.
She told the students that when she got the book it was $0.40 and for some reason her mother decided to save the book for Akers.
”I’ve been able to travel and see some very neat things in my life,” Akers explained. “But books can take you anyplace and you can experience so many wonderful things through books.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484