Students across the district demonstrated their love of reading during Read Across America, celebrated over several weeks, starting with Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2, also known as Read Across America Day.
Vineland Public Schools is an enthusiastic supporter of the National Education Association's "Read Across America" program, now in its 22nd year. This year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources. Reading is an important focus in the early grades and students who are absent miss critical instruction time. Research shows that early literacy plays a key role in enabling learning experiences that are linked to academic achievement, reduced grade retention, and higher graduation.
Highlights of the week included:
• Barse Elementary School kicked off their event with Miss New Jersey, Jaime Gialloreto, who distributed books and gave a few helpful words over the morning announcements and then read to classes. Many parents, school officials, and members of the community also read throughout the week.
• Rossi Elementary School held a variety of theme days throughout the week. Guest readers visited the classrooms and the week culminated with a birthday party for Dr. Seuss and principal Mrs. Heer’s Challenge.
• Funded by the Vineland Education Association Pride in Education Grant, D’Ippolito Elementary School hosted the “Our Students are Eggcellent” family event on February 28. D’Ippolito families were treated to an evening of Dr. Seuss themed activities including Stem oriented crafts, green eggs and ham for dinner and each child left with a new book to enjoy. After eating their green eggs and ham, families had the opportunity to make Oobleck and Lorax Mustaches while the matching stories,” The Lorax” and “Bartholomew and the Oobeck” written by Dr. Seuss, played in the background. Possibly the most exciting event of the night was the opportunity for the students to win the Horton Bird Nest Challenge. Based on the Dr. Seuss story “Horton Lays an Egg,” this activity challenged students to create a birds nest by using a number of crafting materials. After their nest was made, they were asked to place a plastic egg in the nest and see if the nest was strong enough to support the egg after Horton (a gallon water jug) was placed on top. Before the evening was over, students had the opportunity to take a photo at the “Cat in the Hat” selfie station and then they were invited to select a brand-new book of their choice.
• As one of the most anticipated weeks of the school year, students and staff alike were coconuts for Read Across America Week at Durand Elementary School. Organized by two teachers, Janeane Camardo and Linda Paladino, the theme for the week was, "We LAVA Good Book! " In preparation for the celebration, the school was decorated luau style, bringing the feel of the islands to every hallway. Teachers and students were asked to create bulletin board displays that went along with the theme. From the Hawaiian to Polynesian Islands and everywhere in between, taking a stroll through any given hallway was like having your toes in the sand and suntan lotion in your hand! The week began with a visit from Maui and Moana, who slightly resembled Principal Dan Greco and Assistant Principal Brittney Tomlin. The two shared some of their fondest reading memories with students and read some of their favorite stories. They also distributed a brand-new book to every student. On Tuesday, students enjoyed a visit from National Honor Society students from Vineland High School. Not only did Durand students get to hear some of their favorite Dr. Seuss stories, but they learned about what it was like to be in high school. For an afternoon snack students were served freshly cut pineapple, donated by D’Ottavio Produce. The week continued with buddy reading, where younger students were paired up with older students to read their favorite books. They were invited to bring in a pair of flip flops and a beach towel or blanket for this special reading time. In the cafeteria, students were served tropical smoothies in a variety of flavors. On Thursday, community members were invited to read to students and visit each classroom. Readers included local heroes from the Vineland Police and Fire Departments, retired teachers and family members of Durand staff, as well as VHS JROTC. Like all great things, the week came to an end on Friday, but not without a dress-up day and an assembly! Students and staff were encouraged to dress in their favorite island attire. Students came to school dressed in tropical colors, in hula skirts and leis, as Moana, and even as tourists. Teachers and staff participated in the dress up fun too. Of course, Read Across America Week would not be complete without an awesome assembly. The Tri-State Area's largest and longest running Polynesian Entertainment Group, the South Pacific Island Dancers, visited the school providing a morning assembly of live luau entertainment and Polynesian dance education! Students were given opportunities to participate in group dancing and even got to watch their teachers and administration hula and poi ball dance. It was a week that undoubtedly left students excited about reading...and definitely wanting to TIKI break, LEI down and LAVA good book! Ohana means family...Durand is family.
• The Vineland Education Association, through a PRIDE grant, hosted the Dallago Preschool Breakfast and Books Program on March 5 to celebrate Read Across America Week. Families were invited to our school to learn how to teach their child to read and love books with the ‘Families & Books’ mini-workshop presented by the Vineland Public Library. Adults enjoyed a free continental breakfast and received free promotional items and free books, all provided by the PRIDE grant. Librarians from the Vineland Public Library presented helpful hints in selecting books, reading with your child, and helping make family book-time an experience that is enjoyable to the whole family!
Families were then invited to join their child’s class for literacy activities and a special story time with the Vineland Public Library. As part of the PRIDE grant each student received a copy of the book, Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes. This book is the first in Lena’s Library Legacy in memory of Dallago student Evangeline “Lena” Tietjen.
• Mennies Elementary School added a couple of new features to their celebration this year. Instead of tracking the number of books read, the school focused on the amount of time spent reading. Each classroom kept track of the total number of minutes read for their class, with the grade level with the most amount of time winning a party. In addition, the school held a bookmark contest for all students. The winning bookmark will be printed and distributed to all students. Teachers and staff also got in on the fun, participating in a door decorating contest with the theme of Dr. Seuss or reading. The doors were voted on by guest readers that came to the school that week, with the winning class receiving a party.
• Vineland High School students took the opportunity to mentor the younger students and share their love of reading. Students from S.H.A.P.E. Club and the AP Environmental Science class, along with their friends the Lorax, Thing 1 and Thing 2, visited D'Ippolito School. The high school students spent the day traveling to all the different grades reading stories and talking with the kids.
• Petway Elementary School also held a theme week, which included book giveaways and community readers, and culminated with their annual Family Fun Night, featuring green eggs and ham for dinner and a performance from magician Joe Holiday.
Click on the following link for a gallery of staff and submitted photos from the schools:
VPS Broadcasting was also at many of the celebrations. A news piece with highlights will be available soon on our YouTube channel, VLDSchoolsTV.