Literacy Fairs highlight beloved books | RecordCourier.com

Literacy Fairs highlight beloved books

Amy Roby

As a creative way to celebrate and showcase their favorite books, elementary students at Meneley and Scarselli recently participated in site-based literacy fairs. This was the second annual literacy fair at Meneley and the first at Scarselli.

Hundreds of students created tri-fold literacy boards based upon a book of their choosing. Rubrics were provided to establish board requirements such as inclusion of facts learned (non-fiction) and text structure (fiction), but the display and design of the board was up to each creator. Boards could be made individually, as part of a team, with a student's family, or as a whole-class project.

"The literacy fair has become an exciting venue for students and families to express their love of a book and their love of learning," said Meneley 5th grade teacher and fair director Sherrie Higgins. "Seeing passion for literacy and cherished books is a byproduct of letting kids be kids and share in their own way, about their own book, promoting self-expression and creativity."

An integral part of the fair is the interview portion; volunteers from throughout the community visited the two schools to interact with students and discuss their book boards. These personal meetings allowed students to share their excitement for their chosen book and encourage others to read it, all while honing their oral communication skills. Originality, ingenuity, and creativity counted as well, and awards were given across several different grade level categories.

Douglas County School District Superintendent Teri White and Curriculum and Instruction Director Rommy Cronin visited each school to interview students and show support for their literary events. Other volunteer interviewers included parents, school staff, DCSD employees and retirees, DCSD school board members, and yours truly.

The hard work and planning that went into the boards and interview preparation was obvious. Student energy was palpable and contagious, and enthusiasm for the event is spreading. Both schools plan to host another literacy fair again next spring.

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Scarselli volunteer and educational consultant Cindi Supko said, "What a terrific day I had interviewing students! I liked (the Literacy Fair) so much I shared the idea with another school in Carson City."

In the evening, students were invited to return to school with their families for a public viewing night.

Meneley gave away new books to families and hosted a "Poetry Café" in the library, where students recited their own original work. The school's mascot, Monty the Mountain Lion, was seen roaming the many aisles of book boards and enjoying the poetry.

As part of their festivities, Scarselli held a basket raffle to benefit their annual scholarship, which is awarded each spring to several graduating Douglas High School seniors who attended the school. Families had an opportunity to meander through the book fair as they viewed the student projects.

Higgins noted "It takes a village" to pull off an event of this caliber. "The Literacy Fair team feels supported, protected, and encouraged" by the many people who pitch in to help, she said. "We are constantly surprised by the generosity and genuine selfless giving in the name of something good for our children."

Amy Roby can be reached at ranchosroundup@hotmail.com.