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Event gets read on Witt teachers

Literacy night shares teachers’ favorite books with students.

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  • | 4:40 a.m. February 10, 2016
Kindergarten teacher Gail Garger's favorite, The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak, has a page of "word sounds."
Kindergarten teacher Gail Garger's favorite, The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak, has a page of "word sounds."
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As part of the Gene Witt Elementary School literacy committee, teachers had a chance to share their favorite books with students and their families.

On Feb. 4, students brought their families along, traveling from classroom to classroom to hear a new tale spun by their teachers. The literacy night was organized by the literacy committee, which was launched this year to help families connect with their children over a book.

“I’ve been wanting to get a literacy committee started,” said Vice Principal Tia Henderson. “We wanted to get the families back at the school with a reading theme in mind.”

Despite the increased use of technology, Henderson said she hasn’t seen a decline in students’ interest in books during her 21 years in education. She does notice students bringing in tablets to read, though.

She talks to students daily about what they’re consuming.

Henderson encourages parents to set the example.

“When kids see their parents reading novels, blogs, newspapers, that inspires their love for reading,” she said.

Witt also has a “million-word readers” contest. Using a computer program, students can log how many words are in the books they’re reading throughout the year. Some of the students have hit the 3 million-word mark.

Here's a few teachers and their books:

Gail Garger — Kindergarten
Book: The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
Why: It’s hysterical. And, pictures are important to kids. I want to show them that it’s OK to have a book without pictures, that they’re just as entertaining.
Favorite passage: The page of “word sounds”

Camissa Tabor — Third grade
Book: Love You Forever by Robert Munsen
Why: It’s my favorite. It’s tradition, about a mother and her child. But there’s interaction, too, with a repetitive song.
Favorite passage: "I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be."

Angie Cannon — Third grade
Book: The Napping Hour by Audrey Wood
Why: I love the illustrations. It goes from dark and dreary to bright and cheery. It’s a subtle message about the impact we have on each other.
Favorite: The illustrations.

Catherine Burke — Third grade
Book: The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater
Why: It inspires people to be themselves and turn their dreams into a reality.
Favorite passage: “My house is me and I am it. My hour is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams,” Mr. Plumbean said.

Debra Barnard — Fifth-grade
Book: Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel
Why: It’s a nice story with nice vocabulary and good visuals for younger kids. It’s about a family clearing the land to build a new house and saving one tree in their back yard. They name the tree Steve, but it falls down in a storm. 
Favorite passage: "So when you come home from Grandma’s next week, Steve will not be able to greet you as he has done in the past. I’m sorry. But please know Steve will always be with us in our hearts, in our thoughts." 

Jamie Reagan — Fourth grade
Book: Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lorell
Why: I read it on the first day school every year. It teaches kids they can overcome anything.
Passage: "Dear Grandma, I wanted to tell you that everything you told me was right! Love, Molly Lou Melon."


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