Eastbury and guests promote literacy

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Wed., Apr. 6, 2011
Eastbury Principal Dr. Nancy Bean reads 'A Fine, Fine School' to Mrs. Shari Burns' 4th grade class as part of the annual 'Guest Reader Day' on April 5. Photos by Steve Smith.
Eastbury Principal Dr. Nancy Bean reads 'A Fine, Fine School' to Mrs. Shari Burns' 4th grade class as part of the annual 'Guest Reader Day' on April 5. Photos by Steve Smith.

Instead of having a 'Reading Month' as it has in the past, Eastbury School decided to make literacy more of a focus throughout the year. But one tradition, “Guest Reader Day,” which was held on April 5, remained the same.

Town officials, local celebrities, and other volunteers were interviewed by student council members and then escorted to classrooms where they read a book (either of their own choice, or one specially-selected for them) to students.

“It's just a nice event for children to see adults promoting literacy,” said Monica Gardner, the school's library/media specialist. “It's good for the community members to come in, see the children, and get a flavor for what goes on in a classroom.”

April, however, is Poetry Month at the school, so students read a poem of their choice each morning.

Glastonbury Little League president Don Longtin read “Big Al” to Mrs. Donovan's second grade class – a book he reads every year.

“This my favorite book to read at Eastbury School,” Longtin said, “because there's a great lesson in it.”

Longtin also had his own message for students.

“Reading is important,” he said. “The better you are at it, the better you are going to be. It's a great thing to do, not only in school, but on summer vacations. You can't get through life without reading and writing.”

It was the first Guest Reader Day for the school's new principal, Dr. Nancy Bean, who decided to be one of the readers herself.

“I love it,” Bean said. “It's bringing volunteers into the building, and transferring the importance of literacy to have other people come in and for kids to see that modeled. It's another adult promoting literacy, other than just the teacher they see every day.”

Bean said that besides promoting poetry throughout the school, there are several other ongoing literacy initiatives at the school.

“Language Locomotion” is a train, made of construction paper, that is strewn along the hallway walls of the school, each car represents a word that a student comes across in their reading, but either doesn't understand or just finds interesting, so that other students can learn about them.

“It's really captivated students when they are waiting or walking in the hallway,” Bean said. “Teachers have see the students really using the words in their writing.”

Bean said another idea that Gardner used in some of her classes, will soon be used throughout the school. “Poem in your pocket,” asks children to carry a poem, literally, in their pocket, so that when asked, they can share their poem with a teacher, and the teacher can do the same in return.

Bean also has an Authors' Mailbox near the main office, in which students can place articles of writing, including their own, to share with their principal.

“When students find something they love, or want me to see,” Bean said, “they put it in the mailbox, and I call them down to talk about their writing or how they chose the topic, and then we have a Dr. Bean's bulletin board, where we post pictures of the kids and their writing.”

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