Photo by Curt Yeomans
Arnold Elementary School parent, Felicia Courtland, and her daughter, first-grader Micayla Courtland, read a book together during the school's "Family Read-In" event, on Thursday.
Arnold Elementary School parent, Summer Johnson, looked her son, Joshua, in the eyes, Thursday afternoon, in the school's media center, and wanted to know the truth.
"Do you enjoy reading with me?" Summer Johnson asked.
"Yes," her son replied.
"Why is that?" the mother then asked.
"Because, it's fun with you here," said Joshua Johnson, 9, a fourth-grader at Arnold Elementary School.
The Johnson family, including daughter, Madison Johnson, a third-grader at the school, was just one of many families who attended the school's three-hour "Family Read-In" event on Thursday.
During the event, Arnold Elementary School students, along with their parents and siblings, gathered in the school's media center to read books together. After a student read a book, he, or she, then went over to a computer to take the Accelerated Reader (AR) test that accompanies the book. By 3:30 p.m., an hour into the event, 30 Arnold students and their parents had already attended the event, said the school's Media Specialist, Tracy Larson.
"It's a family opportunity for the parents to come and read with their children," Larson said. "It's good for the parents, because they can learn more about what we do here in the media center, and it's fun for the kids. The kids also have an opportunity to teach their parents about what they do in school every day."
Many families gathered around tables in the media center, while others gravitated to an area that is set up to look like a living room. A few others gathered in a small loft in a corner of the library, and a couple of people settled in on a couch located under the loft.
In the loft, first-grader, Micayla Courtland, 6, sat in the lap of her mother, Felicia Courtland, as they read books together. Every time Micayla Courtland struggled to pronounce a word, her mother would teach her how to say it. Felicia's son, fourth-grader, Micah Courtland, also attended the read-in.
"I think if they have an understanding of reading, they will do better in all of the other subjects, like math, and science, and social studies," Felicia Courtland said. "Plus, they are enjoying it."
Micayla Courtland said she likes reading with her mother, because, "I like it when she helps me read, because she reads good."
Parent, Summer Johnson, said her family has been coming to the read-ins at the school every year, for five years now. She said she likes it because it gives her a chance to read with her children, in a laid-back atmosphere. "I like that it's relaxed here," the mother said. "When they are in school, during the day, they do get some free time to come to the media center, but it is maybe 20 minutes a day.
"This allows the children to see their friends, and they get to read at their own leisure," Summer Johnson added.
During the read-in, the students are also given the opportunity to read any book in the media center that they want to read, according to Larson. Normally, they would have to stick to books in their reading level, she added. In many cases, during the read-in, she said, students were taking the opportunity to tackle more challenging and advanced reading levels.
"I've got some children who are coming in and reading ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid,' which is on a fifth-grade reading level, and these kids are in the second grade," Larson said.