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Midvale Journal

Midvale Elementary students celebrate ‘book party’

Jul 01, 2022 08:55AM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Hundreds of Midvale Elementary students cheered as a book vending machine was revealed during the school’s literacy night.

“It’s a book party,” first-grader Emery Morley said. “We have a vending machine to get books and we can do all these activities tonight to get books. I like school.”

While Emery looked at “How to Read to my Monster,” her mother, McKenna, said that it was a fun night to engage students and their families.

“It’s good to get a chance to be in the school and see people in our community,” she said.

Midvale’s literacy night is the first community event since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. It’s also the first for Principal Lori Reynolds at the school since she was named principal there in 2020.

“It’s amazing at the attendance; I’m just ecstatic,” she said, adding that they were getting additional food to feed the attendees made possible by an anonymous donor. “I welcome this many people every time.”

With the help of Real Salt Lake’s mascot, Leo, Reynolds revealed the vending machine explaining that it ties into their positive behavioral intervention and support program.

“When Mustangs follow our pride expectations, they can earn prizes and instead of focusing on candy, we can reward tokens for the vending machine,” she said.

The purchase of the vending machine and the Scholastic books that fill it come from $120,000 sustainability money from school turnaround funds, Reynolds said.

“We want everything to tie into literacy skills—our writing, our retelling of stories, our reading and now our reward system,” she said.

The evening also had several activities such as a book bingo, alliteration, sequencing, puppets, fortunetelling and other stations concentrated on literacy skills. When students attended five activities, they could pick out and take home a new or good conditioned book donated by student book drives at Canyon View Elementary and by some Sandy teenagers.

David Collins said his fifth-grade son, Mason, already had completed three of his five activities.

“He’s a huge reader so he was excited to get a book tonight,” he said. “He reads every day and goes through a book per week. This is a good opportunity to get kids excited about reading.”

Students also could share with their families their circle stories, which end in the same place they started. Students began writing their own on Read Across America Day when RSL players and personnel came to help and read examples of them by Laura Numeroff, the author best known for “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

Second-grade teacher Jessica Beus said the huge turnout was great to see.

“We’ve had so many kids play literacy games and read their own circle stories to their families,” she said. “They’re so excited about getting books; it’s fun to see and know they can read the books over and over again.”