By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
Local students were sporting a lot of new looks last week. Instead of their usual school clothes, kids wearing camo, pajamas, crazy socks and hair, camping gear, mustaches, character costumes, and many other out-of-the-ordinary outfits were seen on busses, in classrooms, and around town. Most of the kids were also toting another common item: a book.
Last week kids celebrated the state-wide Nevada Reading week. The theme for 2017 was Camp Read-Nevada USA. Three of the local schools let kids enjoy the theme by having special dress up days all week long.
However, dressing up wasn’t the only salute to reading going on. Throughout the week, all three schools had mystery readers and “drop everything and read” alerts, as well as bookmark contests and games such as Reading Bingo. The week coincides with the birthday of Dr. Seuss so some schools capitalized on that theme as well.
Each school also had celebrations unique to their students. Ute Perkins Elementary school celebrations were under the direction of school librarian Brooke Williams. She organized fun activities throughout the week.
But the highlight was on Thursday. On Thursday morning, the older students got to enjoy a Skype session with local author Elliah Askeroth Terry. Terry’s middle grade book “Forget Me Not” is due to be released later this month.
In the afternoon, the entire school gathered for a Vocabulary Parade. All students dressed up to represent one of their grade-level vocabulary words. There was a great deal of creativity involved. Representations of words such as precipitation, flabbergasted, fraction, aging, deceased, proverb, and many more were seen marching around the school.
“This was a fun activity for the whole school,” said principal Holly Lee. “It was a great way to grow kids’ vocabulary and see their wonderful imaginations.”
Williams stressed the importance of reading in the success of students. “We love the opportunity to show them that reading can be fun and that words can be fascinating,” she said. “We want all the kids to develop a love of reading because we know it will only help them.”
Grant Bowler Elementary also had a unique reading program. Under the direction of librarian Bryce Hardy, the school took the theme to heart and spent the week on a virtual reading camp-out.
They toured the great state of Nevada. Hardy set up a big map in the lunch room and chose 10 destinations around the state for students to “visit.” For every 600 Accelerated Reader points the students earned during the week, they were able to move to a new mystery campsite, making the point goal of the week a whopping 6,000 points.
Hardy incorporated technological aspects to the activity as well. Students were not merely given the names of their destinations, but were instead given GPS coordinates and required to discover it for themselves. Each classroom then researched the site and submitted one interesting fact about that place. Facts were read over the intercom and then entered into a drawing for prizes.
Some of the places the school “traveled” included Carlin Gold Mine, Lehman Caves, Berlin-Icthyosaur State Park, and Pyramid Lake.
“I think reading is the key to all education so it’s important to make reading fun,” Hardy said.
Mack Lyon Middle School also celebrated the week under the direction of school librarian Kaye Eddie. Students enjoyed participating in the dress up days throughout the week as well as the other activities.
Every day there was a daily trivia question for students and one winner from the correct answers for each grade was chosen in a prize drawing. The school also had a reading challenge which gave kids a list of activities to complete throughout the week, including things like reading to a sibling, reading with a flashlight, and many other fun events. Students who completed the whole list were eligible to be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card at the end of the week.
“Reading week is important because it gets kids excited about reading,” Eddie said. “Once you can get them started in a book, it’s likely they’ll continue on and finish it and that is our goal this week.”