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Summer reading program has kids spellbound

By Maggie Blackwell
mblackwell@salisburypost.comIt’s a warm, sunny summer Thursday. Students, moms and dads, little brothers and sisters, and strollers stream into Shive Elementary School on Thursdays. Some arrive in cars. Some walk. And why?
“Because it’s a great place to be,” said Jordan Mikoski, a 5-year-old who enjoys attending the reading program at Shive.
Altogether 29 kids attended the story hour this Thursday, not too shabby for a holiday week. Assistant principal Scotty Adcock had feared the numbers would be down, but it was the highest-attended story hour yet.
The book this week was, “Norma Jean, Jumping Bean.” Adcock read the book as his wife Teresa, also an educator, held an oversized stuffed kangaroo.
Prior to reading the book, Adcock shared kangaroo tips from other books. He showed a photo of a baby kangaroo, “they’re called joeys,” still in the pouch. He showed how far they can jump, how high they grow, told about their temperaments. “They can be sort of mean.”
At every turn, Adcock translated facts into kid-friendly information.
A baby joey is about an inch long. “About as big as the tip of my finger.”
An adult kangaroo can be over 6 feet. “That’s about as tall as I am.”
The kids sat rapt. With the facts, and then the story, over a half hour had transpired. But the kids didn’t get restless. They sat perfectly still, enchanted by his spell. They seemed to sense that Adcock loves what he does.
Adcock had wanted to implement a summer reading program for some years. He usually works in the summer, however, and just didn’t have the time to commit to the planning and implementation.
This year he took the summer off.
“There was no reason we couldn’t do this. It’s only an hour a week, and the administration said as long as we didn’t incur expenses, it was fine. The school was already open, and other teachers offered to volunteer their time, as well.”
The program may take just an hour, but certainly more than an hour of planning was evident.
Adcock selects and reads the students a story that integrates a character trait. Then, students have free time to work on a related craft, also designed by Adcock. They can work on computers with a related story, or select books to check out for the coming week.
The kids can check out three books a week, and most seem to take all three.
After the story, Carolina Turner, 6, and Victoria Lewis, 7, were absorbed in their craft, making a paper bag kangaroo, complete with a joey in the pouch. Victoria said the program is fun, because you can check out books. She will only get two this week, she said, because she still wanted to look at one from last week.
Colby Livengood, 6, says he is not much of a reader, but likes coming to hear Mr. Adcock read. Colby holds a book about machines, ready to check it out. “See here? It shows how a bulldozer works, and a plane.”
“I’ll be back,” Colby says. “I’m pretty sure he’ll read to us again, and I can check out some more books.”
Adcock overhears Colby and smiles. That was the plan.

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