PIQUA — In Piqua schools, they know that learning does not have to stop once kids leave the classroom, and at Piqua Central Intermediate School, they went the extra mile this week to focus on reading and writing skills, when students and their families filled the gymnasium stands and lined the walls for the school’s first-ever Fall Literary Night.
“We have a real push toward reading,” Literacy Committee Chair and sixth grade teacher Leslie Mitchell said. “We have a new balanced literacy frame work in our classroom, and we are really focusing on reading, writing, and word study.”
The Fall Literacy Night was a successful first-run of the event, with over 450 parents, students, and other family members in attendance. Mitchell said that they are hoping to make it an annual event at PCIS to engage with students and their families on reading and writing.
“We just really want our families to know what’s going on in the classroom,” Mitchell said. “We want to give them some extra things that they can do with their children at home to help to be even more successful.”
The literacy night was set up like a road trip experience, with different stations set up throughout the school.
“They will get to have all of these different experiences,” Mitchell said. “They’ll get to learn about writing, how they can help their children with writing.”
Teachers provided families and students with ideas to make writing more engaging with the goal of improving children’s writing skills.
The event also provided ideas about ways to make “screen time learning time” in regard to technology use, which included suggestions for websites and apps. The teachers and staff at the event also taught comprehension techniques, discussed how word sorts — which focus on critical features of words like sound, pattern, and meaning — can help children to internalize spelling principles to become better readers and writers, and showed parents what new books were available for intermediate readers at both the Piqua Public Library and Piqua Central Intermediate School.
The event also gave away a free book to each of the students, along with a free meal to all of the attendees.
Principal Josh Kauffman commended the students who turned in times they spent reading over the summer, which added up to over 25,000 minutes. Kauffman also honored the librarians who helped students read over 40,000 books during the 2016-17 school year, which was up from approximately 6,000 books read during the 2015-16 school year.
A number of Piqua High School football players and cheerleaders also came out for the event, where some of them took turns reading to the children to help encourage reading skills.
“I really like helping kids,” Krystal Pritchett, a cheerleader and sophomore at PHS, said. The Fall Literacy Night was Pritchett’s first time coming to PCIS to help volunteer.
Teachers and staff members also volunteered their time, coming in after hours to help promote language arts skills overall and encourage families to get involved in their children’s learning.
“This would not have happened without a team effort,” Kauffman said.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336