Students spend 161,654 minutes reading in month


February 20, 1997|By Judy Reilly | Judy Reilly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

GUESS HOW MUCH time students at Elmer Wolfe Elementary School spent reading last month? Would you believe 161,654 minutes?

The effort was part of a reading incentive program for students, organized by Norma Knox, resource teacher at Elmer Wolfe, and her reading committee. They pulled out all the stops this winter to remind children about the joys and benefits of reading.

Dozens of families participated in a family reading night Jan. 16. They sat on the cafeteria floor, read together, and heard Steven Heacock, an environmental specialist from Hashawha Environmental Center, talk about the pleasures of reading.

Accompanied by nature center owls that had been injured and nursed back to health, Heacock read "Owl Moon" by Jane Yolen. His son Forrest provided sound effects.

Annapolis author Priscilla Cummings, author of the "Chadwick the Crab" series, spoke to students about writing -- from deciding the right name for a character to doing research to the challenges of getting published.

Knox and her committee spent hours planning the events for Maryland Reading Month.

"I feel it's very important to have a special focus on reading at some point during the year," Knox said. "We always get comments from parents that the incentives spark an interest in reading for their children. There's always that positive result that takes place -- and even if you just reach a few children, it's always worthwhile."

Knox's committee included Katie Huff, Cheryl Huss, Phyllis Lantz, Debra Offutt, June Praet, Susan Rathkamp and Suzanne Stultz.

Vision to help

Mary Stong, principal at Elmer Wolfe Elementary, has seen many families without health insurance or the financial means to pay a doctor's bill, and to this end she has a vision: to establish a free medical clinic in Northwest Carroll for those without the resources to take care of their family's medical needs.

Stong began sharing her vision for such a clinic with community groups in the fall. She presented the idea to Carroll County Public Schools' Alternative Programs, at the request of Partners in Family Learning.

Members of the county Health Department, Public Library and Human Resources attended the presentation. Stong hopes to have a steering committee in place by spring.

"There is such a need for this clinic," Stong said.

Information: 751-3307.

Watch the birds

Talking to Springdale Road resident Erma Gebb, an enthusiastic bird watcher, made me realize that the joys of nature can't be subdued by winter.

Gebb, who has had an interest in nature and birds all her life, looks out onto her back yard every day and, with a pair of lightweight binoculars, searches for birds.

Gebb recommends birding to those who want to slow down and focus on nature for a few moments a day. "I also recommend you join the Carroll County Bird Club," she said.

Information: 876-2768.

Pub Date: 2/20/97

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