Wendell Kirk reads the childrens book, Daniel’s Pet, to his 18-month-old granddaughter, Madison Zachary, during the literacy event this week at Pointe South Elementary School. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)
RIVERDALE — The cafeteria filled with families during the Second Annual “I Love Reading” event at Pointe South Elementary School.
The affair was geared toward promoting literacy and developing students into lifelong readers. However, parents were challenged to put their knowledge to the test Tuesday as organizers quizzed them on history and current events.
Brenda Kirk, the gifted education teacher at Pointe South, helped organize the activity.
“It’s our annual outreach to the community to encourage reading in the homes of our students,” said Kirk. “We’re trying to prepare our students for global opportunities.”
Children participated in Book Character Day at the school Tuesday, and returned with their parents for the reading event that evening.
“It really caught on much to our surprise,” said Kirk. “Our parents were excited, our teachers were excited, it was very very productive.”
The event gave teachers a rare opportunity to meet with several of the working parents at the school.
Jackie Barkley joined her son Michael Barkley, 8, in the school library where there was a simultaneous Scholastic book fair underway. She helped him pick out a book to purchase and take home.
The shy third-grader was drawn to the “Paper Flying Dragons.”
“It teaches you to make paper dragons,” explained Michael Barkley.
His mother said she tries to incorporate reading into his everyday activities, whether traveling on the road or in the kitchen helping her cook.
“He reads recipes for me when he chooses what he wants to eat for dinner,” said Jackie Barkley. “That’s the only way they comprehend. It’s the best time to catch them, when they’re young and eager.”
Parent Brenita Anderson said her son Matthew Anderson, 6, was eager to attend Tuesday’s event.
“Matthew wanted to come to the book fair,” said Brenita Anderson. “He’s been reminding me all week. I think it’s really good for the kids. A lot of parents like me work during the day. And this gives them the opportunity to come and show their support for the kids and the school.”
Her son, a first-grader at Pointe South, managed to collect three books in short order, and the bold texts deal with some heavy subject-matter — one about SpongeBob SquarePants, another about Angry Birds and, not least, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Matthew’s brother, who happens to be 19 years older, also grew up reading stories about the green half-shell heroes.
“I’ve always told my oldest son that you should use your mind and not your back to making a living,” said Brenita Anderson.
Kirk said the reading events pay off for families at Pointe South.
“This event helps parents to conceptualize the value of reading and the far-reaching effects of reading have on a child’s life,” said Kirk. “It will require a lot of hard work but it is so worth it in the end.” She said she last year’s reading night helped the increase student achievement.
“It does expose them to vocabulary and things that they may not otherwise be able to experience,” Kirk said. “It has driven our children into the love of reading.”
Developing good readers now will create leaders of tomorrow, said Kirk, noting Pointe South’s theme this year is “readers are leaders.”
She said the Scholastic book fair, which started Monday, will continue through Wednesday, Nov. 6. Proceeds will go back to the school and its media center.