A few of their favorite books

For a day, Atholton Elementary students share what they like to read

January 07, 2007|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,special to the sun

First-grader Reilly Robertson brought in a Junie B. Jones book for Bring Your Favorite Book Day at Atholton Elementary School.

Sitting on a chair while the other students in Sheila Shaw's class sat on the floor around her, Reilly explained that one of her favorite scenes was when Junie B. Jones, the first-grade main character in this Barbara Park book, "ate something she wasn't supposed to eat in a store, and she was hiding."

Shaw prompted Reilly to continue. "She gets in trouble a lot," she said. "Do you get in trouble a lot?"

"Yeah," said Reilly. "Well, sometimes."

Bring Your Favorite Book Day is one of several events held at Atholton in January to celebrate reading during the state's reading month.

On Tuesday mornings, the school holds a Name that Book Contest. A portion of a well-known book is read over the public address system, and students who can identify the book place their answers in a box. One winning child per grade is given a pencil or other small treat, said Doris Zingman, the school's reading specialist.

In the first week of the contest, at least one child from each grade correctly named Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin as the book that was being quoted, she said. Zingman said she has been organizing reading-related events in Howard County for 20 years, including 13 at Atholton.

Other events at Atholton this month include a Cross Grade Pair and Share, which links younger children with older ones for reading sessions, and a Guest Reader Day, scheduled for Jan. 19, in which parents and other members of the community are invited to visit the school and read to small groups of students.

Throughout the school year, Zingman said, students are urged to read 20 minutes a night and to bring in calendars signed by a parent showing that they have done it. Students who bring in at least five months of signed calendars can participate in a picnic and activity day in May.

On Friday, each classroom set aside about an hour for students to discuss their favorite books.

"It's for the whole school, pre-k to five," Zingman said.

Teachers and other staff members also were encouraged to share their favorite children's books for a display that will be in the school hallway, she said.

Children who didn't bring in a book could borrow one from the classroom or talk about a book they liked.

Shaw said her pupils like the event.

"They love bringing in their favorite books and sharing them," she said. "It puts everyone in the spotlight."

As each student shared a book, Shaw wrote the titles on the board. The list included classics such as Fox in Socks and Black Beauty, as well as television-derived books about SpongeBob and the Powerpuff Girls.

Shaw, who has been teaching first grade at Atholton for seven years, said the children make different selections each year, but some books, such as The Polar Express, brought in this year by Nick Washington, 6, are always popular.

After each student had gotten a turn to talk, the pupils returned to their desks, where they wrote and drew pictures about their favorite books.

Meanwhile, in Vernecia Griffen's third-grade class, the students were just starting their hour of book-sharing. "I'd like to start by telling you about some books I really like," Griffen said.

She told the class about A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy, a series of chapter books featuring the sleuthing adventures of Dink, Josh and Ruth Rose. Ruth Rose, she said, always solves the mysteries, Dink is always hungry, and Josh always finds the clues.

Then, one at a time, the students came to the front of the room to talk about their favorite books.

Sebastin McMillan, 9, said he liked a book called Fire in Their Eyes by Karen Magnuson Beil, which shows how wildfires are fought. He turned to a page showing a photograph of a smoke jumper, who parachutes out of an airplane to fight wildfires.

Kiana Green, 9, said she liked an American Girl book about Josefina, whose story takes place in New Mexico in the 1800s. Like all books in the American Girl series, Josefina's story mixes historical fact with a fictional tale of a young girl. Kiana said she liked the photographs and the glossary of Spanish words in the back of the book.

Principal Lauren Bauer, who had been sitting in on the first-grade class, said she enjoyed seeing what the children had selected. "It's so great at this age to see that they love books," she said.

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