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Midvale Journal

Midvale Elementary to celebrate literacy during March

Mar 03, 2020 12:05PM ● By Julie Slama

Midvale Elementary students will be able to select books to take home at the school’s upcoming literacy night, March 31. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” — Theodor Seuss Geisel

School children are familiar with the words of Dr. Seuss and his books may be some of many that are read during a month-long reading challenge at Midvale Elementary.

The challenge will track the number of minutes students in each class reads, Midvale School Community Facilitator Heidi Sanger said.

The school’s kick-off for the reading month will be Read Across America on March 2 when United Way volunteers plan to come to read books together with students and do projects related to the books. 

Some of the books may explore a country and the project, craft or writing may tie into its culture, which also could be used for the school’s literacy night on March 31, Sanger said.

At the literacy night event, organizers plan to have display tables for each grade level where teachers can share information and tools on what students should be working on. For example, Sanger said that kindergarten teachers may share sight words that students are learning and can practice at home.

There also will be information about dyad, or pair, reading which allows the adult and child to sit side by side and read aloud together. 

Midvale Elementary achievement coach Senja Merrill introduced the reading strategy at last year’s literacy night, saying it helps learn how to read more quickly.

“When you share the book, sitting side by side, track the words and read out loud together,” she said. “The adult reader’s voice may be a little faster and a litter louder than the student’s and may tend to lead the student in reading, but by using a finger to track the text and having eyes focused on the words, the student will join the adult in time and increase their reading pace.”

Another benefit of reading together, Merrill said, is that the adult and student can talk about the text and write down unfamiliar words to look up and learn. The method is proven to help with fluency, comprehension, vocabulary and accuracy, she said.

The school also plans to host a family dinner, feature art and drama displays and give a free book to every child.

“Highlighting the importance of reading and how to support students in learning to read and learning to love reading is really the basic idea behind family literacy night,” Sanger said. “When we share our love of reading with others, we hope to inspire them to love it as well.”