Thursday, March 19, 2015

Read Across America Week 2015

We had an amazing Read Across America Week this year! I’ve had great feedback from students, parents and staff. People are still talking about our celebration even though it was two weeks ago! One comment was, “It was the best Read Across America week they’ve ever seen.” So, what exactly did I do for Read Across America week? Here’s the scoop!

First I have to say, it wasn't all me. There is a Planning & Organization committee at my school that works on “big” events throughout the year. They were originally planning Read Across America on their own and I kind of pushed my way into the committee offered to help them with the planning. They had been talking about having an author come to our school and Carmen Deedy’s name came up. She had been to our school over 10 years ago, and everyone had loved her. I contacted her scheduling agent and did all the legwork securing Carmen Deedy’s visit including contracts, ordering books for people to purchase, etc… It was not an easy task on top of my regular media center job, but it was so worth it! She is an amazing storyteller and so, so funny! If you have not had Carmen Deedy at your school you need to book her now! She lives in Georgia and gives a discount for all Georgia schools. Why are you still reading – go book her now! 

Carmen Deedy was our kick-off to the week, speaking with three groups of students (K/1, 2/3 and 4/5) and she was with us on the actual Read Across America day. That morning and each morning during the week, we had a trivia question announced on the student news show. The trivia question was posted in the media center and each night my sweet children would help me sort the correct answers from the incorrect answers and randomly draw a winner’s name. The winning student was announced the next morning on the news show and they won a free book. I have a stash of paperback books that I get from donations, book fairs, consignment shops, etc…

Tuesday was also the start of a frenzy that no one expected – the hat search. I got the idea from Pinterest (where I get all my great ideas!) and it consisted of buying a package of 36 small Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat hats. We hid them around the school and students had to count how many they could find. They had until Thursday at dismissal to submit their count. We had over 360 entries for this! The winner was announced on Friday and they won their own Cat in the Hat hat that I ordered from Amazon.

Wednesday we showed a slideshow of photos that students and their families had submitted showing the students’ response to “I will read anywhere.” Again, an idea I found on Pinterest. We had students upload their photos to a free website DropEvent and started this part of the celebration about two weeks prior to the actual Read Across America week.

Thursday, we had 14 football players and their coach from Kennesaw University come out and read to our students. Each class had a player visit and read to them. Each player would read a Dr. Seuss book, so I had to select books that were easy enough to read (for people who may/may not be used to reading in front of a class full of children) and would hopefully not be a story the students had heard a thousand times. Teachers signed up for three different time slots, and chose from the book list I created. I assigned a slot to a player and went from there. I can share forms if you’re interested – just post a response and I’ll get them to you!

Friday was our character dress up day and I will admit that I am not a person who likes to dress up. But, it was Read Across America week and well, I just did it anyway even though I personally didn’t enjoy it. I did enjoy seeing all the teachers and students showing off their creativity and the characters they chose.

Whew! That was a lot! It was a super busy, super exciting and super exhausting week! I’m really not sure how we’re going to top that next year, but if you have any suggestions or fun activities you did this year to celebrate Read Across America, I’d love to hear them. 

Wishing you health and happiness,

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