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Literacy Night at Overton Elementary School

By Wayne Hinshaw

For the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — Reading was the subject for parents and students at Overton Elementary School’s Literacy Night.

Parents were given tips by Catawba College Professor Kim Creamer on how to help their children with reading at home. Catawba education majors in their junior year of study read books and led activities in math and science.

Stacey Rogers, Overton’s instructional reading design coach, said the Catawba interns read a book to two groups of students and led activities for kindergarten through second-grade students and third- through fifth-graders. The subject of the books and activities were related to math or science with the purpose of creating an interest among the students.

“I hope more parents will help more with literacy at home,” Rogers said.

She gave the parents a list of 85 simple ways to help children learn to read and develop a love for reading. The tips included make reading fun; have plenty of books in your home; let your child write and read grocery lists; talk about the books you read; play word games; and communicate with your child’s teachers.

Creamer said the Catawba Overton Partnership for Excellence (COPE) is designed to help Catawba education majors practice planning activities while combining literacy with math and science for a fun assignment. The students work in Overton school on Wednesdays getting experience in the classroom in preparation for their senior year, when they will do a semester of teaching in schools.

Through the community involvement at Overton, the students make a personal contact in the school environment.

Catawba intern Stacy Wagoner read a short book on “forces that make things move in science.” Her planned activity involved using gravity and friction with the students.

Intern Brittany Furr read “Possum Magic” to her students and then used magic tricks from the book to “wow” the students.

Laura Isenhour read “The Red Lemon,” a book about a farmer who has a red lemon. In her class, she served red lemonade to the students. One first-grader, Kyle Sellers, was convinced that the lemonade could not be lemonade because lemonade is yellow. He said it tasted like lemonade, but it couldn’t be because the color was wrong.

Regan Bell read the book “The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash.”

Intern Charlie Brown read “The Greedy Triangle,” then had her students make geometric shapes from clay that were mentioned in the book.

Creamer offered the idea of using the “Five Whys” when discussing the reading of a story with children — like a 2-year-old child who asks, “Why?” after each thing you say. It makes the reader have to explain what she just read. She pointed out the classroom teachers love to use the “Five Whys” method to get children to discuss what they have read. It encourages the children to ask questions and think though the subject.

It is important that the child be focused on reading and not be distracted by things around them. Have a reading center at home, and leave the TV and smartphones off while reading.

When a parent asked about reading the text of a book and not comprehending the material, Creamer said that some children can read the words and still not comprehend the meaning.

“We need to comprehend what we read,” Creamer said. “The ultimate goal in reading is to comprehend,” not just to say the words of the text.

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