School to celebrate Md. Reading Month with sound of silence

NEIGHBORS

January 12, 1994|By PAT BRODOWSKI

It's called Drop Everything And Read.

On Fridays this month at Hampstead Elementary School, DEAR means the custodians suddenly stop sweeping. The kitchen becomes silent. Activity in classrooms, the music room, the gym stops. The entire school is reading.

January is Maryland Reading Month. Hampstead Elementary decided to celebrate in a big way with full-school reading activities all month long.

Drop Everything And Read is one part of the celebration of reading.

"Everybody, including the custodians and cafeteria staff, stops and reads for 15 minutes," said Judy Walker, principal of Hampstead Elementary. In art, music, media and even physical education, the teachers read to the students from literature related to current study.

In the classroom, children read on their own from favorite books they've chosen to bring.

Each Friday also has a dress-up theme. Last Friday's was "Pig Out on a Good Book." Students wore clothes decorated with pig pictures and took their books to lunch. After they ate, they "pigged out" by getting immersed in a good book.

"In the last five or 10 minutes of each lunch shift, it was real quiet," said Mrs. Walker.

"Sweat It Out With a Good Book" happens this week, when students can wear their sweat suits to school. It will be a crazy hat day for "Hats Off To Reading" on Jan. 21. Unusual hosiery is the costume of choice when "Sock It to Me with a Good Book" happens Jan. 26.

Each classroom is inviting members of the community to visit and read during the month. Guests are usually community figures the children will recognize, said Mrs. Walker. Commissioner Elmer Lippy was a guest reader last year.

The celebration's main event is Family Reading Night from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 26. Students will bring their parents, brothers and sisters to school. Families can bring along a couple of good books or choose some from the school media center. Then they will sit together and read for about 20 minutes.

After reading together, and with their favorite story characters in mind, the family will head to the cafeteria to bring their book to life. Teachers will staff activity tables to help family members make puppets, bookmarks, banners or mini-books related to a book they read together.

Then it's off to the gym with pillows and blankets. (Each family brings its own.)

As family members snuggle in, a storyteller from the North Carroll Branch Library will read selected favorites.

Information: 374-2850, 239-7444.

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Helping your child improve reading skills will be the focus of "Coffee and Comments" at Hampstead Elementary at 9 a.m. Jan. 14. Any parent, whether his child attends the school or not, may attend.

The reading program at Hampstead Elementary will be presented by Monica Smith, former reading specialist at Sykesville Middle School who is now the assistant principal at Hampstead, along with integrated language arts instructor Ann Iwicki and media specialist Iva Martin.

"They are going to present a rationale behind what the students are learning, and why reading looks different from when [parents] went to school," said Hampstead principal Judy Walker. "They'll provide strategies for decoding words, and other things parents can do at home."

Previous Coffee and Comments hours have been attended by as many as 36 interested parents.

Parents with pre-schoolers who would like to attend Coffee and Comments may bring their children to the Early Learning Environment for art, music, stories and play. It's on a first-come basis and can accept five children.

The Early Learning Environment is a North Carroll regional program for 2- to 4-year-olds who need help, due to disabilities, before they enter kindergarten.

"We try to provide a chance for play with non-handicapped students," said Mrs. Walker, of the Early Learning Environment, "and parents have taken advantage of [the idea]."

With their pre-schoolers happily playing, more parents are attending the Coffee and Comments meetings.

Information: 374-2850 or 239-7444.

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Winter story times at the North Carroll Branch Library will begin the week of Jan. 25. Programs are free.

Registration is under way. An adult must accompany a child up to age 3.

Babies and Books is for infants up to 24 months, and Toddler Time is for children ages 2 and 3. There's also Preschool Storytime, for children 4 to 6, which gives moms and dads browsing time.

Information: 374-1212.

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