Bristol folks read stories to school kids

BRISTOL — Bristol Elementary School’s annual I Love to Read and Write Week in February had a wonderful new activity this year: 21 members of the wider Bristol community came into classrooms to read to the children, as part of the Passport to Stories Around the World.
“Mrs. MacDonald’s 3/4 class was a real hoot. We read a story, rolled in some geography, played a bit with languages, and the kids were super engaged. Several of them were counting up the countries I’d visited. I lost track after 22,” said reader Jim Jarvis.
Each student received a paper “passport” which included places for stamps and a map of the world.  Community members who answered an ad on Front Page Forum were given a choice of days, times and grade levels. If they needed help, school librarian Kyra Ginalski had collected a wide selection of books from the library.
Guest readers were encouraged to choose stories that had some connection to a foreign country. After the reader finished the story, “passports” were stamped. Some readers had lived in or visited the country where the story was set. One even brought artifacts to show the children. The project involved geography, culture, some history, and, of course, reading!
The children were excited to find out that many people living in their town had had such fascinating experiences in their lives. And members of the community had a chance to not only visit but also be a part of the educational process at Bristol Elementary School. More than one community reader decided to volunteer regularly in the school after their guest reader experience.
The week’s activities included many favorites from past years. Each morning a different “mystery reader” was heard reading a passage from a well-known children’s book. Students tried to guess the reader, the book and the author. This year’s mystery readers included the school nurse, and one of the cooks.
The week ended with an all-school assembly and a special guest, local children’s poet Ted Scheu. He recited some of his favorite poems and ended with a surprise: a brand new poem called “This Week,” written just for the occasion. And then the students had a surprise of their own to present to him: illustrations of several of Mr. Scheu’s poems that they had done during I Love to Read and Write Week.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by Bristol Elementary literacy teacher Michele Lowry.

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