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Midvale Journal

Midvale Elementary students learn reading activities at literacy night event

May 08, 2018 10:19AM ● By Julie Slama

Midvale Elementary students listen to a KPMG volunteer read them the story of "Jamaica Louise James" during their literacy night. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Midvale Elementary kindergartner William Baxter loves to read.

“I know a bunch of words,” he said, adding that he recently finished “The Crazy Cat” book that once was a favorite of his father, Jason, when he was a boy.

Jason Baxter said they read daily, usually Dr. Seuss books or another favorite, “Where the Wild Things Are.”

“He was very excited to come to literacy night and get a book,” he said with younger sons, Christopher and Andrew.

William picked out “Nelson’s Patriot Book,” which he said he will be able read again and again as he gets older.

Picking out a book from amongst the 1,900 books donated from an Eagle Boy Scout project or from 630 new books donated from tax firm KPMG, was part of what Assistant Principal Matt Watts said was the goal of the March 27 event.

Watts said he hoped students and their families would learn new resources and skills to encourage more reading and literacy activities in their homes.

“We’re hoping to provide fun activities to help everyone with literacy skills and to provide books for them to have in their homes,” he said, adding that his favorite children’s book also is “Where the Wild Things Are.”

Families could rotate through various sessions, such as learning about story sequences, doing literacy activities on computers, writing letters or playing book bingo.

Fourth-grader Ella Cox loves to read and can be found reading “Ivy and Bean” or a “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book. When she brought home a flier about the event, her family and friends quickly planned to attend.

“This is something fun to do together,” her mother Lacie said. “It’s our first time coming.”

Their evening began with making comics, filling in action verbs for mad libs and meeting Ella’s brother’s hero, Captain America, who was one of four storybook characters roaming the event from HEROIC Inc., a non-profit organization formed that focuses on supporting community events with costumes based on comic book heroes, gaming characters, princesses, and science fiction characters. 

Midvale students and families swarm to meet Captain America during the school's literacy night. (Julie Slama/City Journals)


Ella’s family’s next rotation was going to the book walk. Nearby Alex Resendiz ran the world families session.

Alex was one of 15 Netflix customer service representatives, who volunteered at the rotations that night.

“I have three siblings in Rigby, Idaho who are still in school and I wish they’d have the opportunity to have an event like this there,” he said. “I volunteer every chance I can get. I like knowing I can help someone with their reading.”

KPMG Director of Consulting Services Sebastian Madariaga said about 20 volunteers came to volunteer, reading the book, “Jamaica Louise James,” at the literacy night in addition to donating books so each child could take one home.

“We specifically read that book about the eight-year-old girl who loves to paint, but doesn’t like subway stations,” he said. “In the story, she surprised her grandma who works at the subway station by hanging her pictures on the walls. It tells a story of how important just one person, in this case, an eight-year-old, can be.”

Madariaga, who opens his home to foster children, had four attend Midvale Elementary, so he was familiar with the need to encourage reading activities and get books in the hands of children.

“We go to several schools each year in the area, but there’s a need at this school,” he said. “We love to read with kids. It’s the best way to be involved and make a difference in kids’ lives. It’s very rewarding.”