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Photo by Dani Wilson
Teachers and participants enjoy a game of Cranium.
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Photo by Dani Wilson
Dylan Grant, a seventh-grader at Trimpe, and his mother, Karla, make delicious crafts at the Cook Book station.
These words became a reality — and a ton of fun — for the Bethalto community last week when Trimpe Middle School had its first Family Literacy Night.
From young children and parents to students of all ages and teachers, everybody became a student and had fun learning how to integrate reading into their lives.
The theme of the event was Literacy In Life — Trimpe’s reading specialist, Maria Roach, says her aim was to let attendees know reading relates to every part of life. For this reason, reading pervaded the night’s activities — Roach even integrated reading into dinner. While participants dined, they could write messages on paper-covered tables. There were also laminated papers with plot descriptions of famous novels, from classic to contemporary literature. A screen in the front of the cafeteria showed quotes about reading and literacy.
After the families ate dinner together, Roach began the event with a presentation called The Power of Words. She explained that research has shown higher success rates in those with bigger vocabularies, and that vocabularies can be expanded by reading and writing. She also showed a video promoting the message that by changing just a few words, one can change a life.
Then, the games began. Stations such as “Brain Games,” “Music Mania” and “Sports Spectacular” allowed the community to participate in a variety of reading-related activities. Participants played board games, sang karaoke and performed science experiments. People let their artistic sides show by making art with adjectives. One station, “Cook Book,” involved reading directions and making fun and delicious crafts. There was a lot of variety, Roach said, because literacy is not just reading and writing: it involves speaking, listening and communicating. All of these skills played an important part in the night.
Roach says the purpose of holding the literacy night was to bring the community into the middle school. She wants to encourage families to read together, play games together and be more aware of the prevalence of literacy in everyday life.
“Reading is everywhere. You have to have reading and writing skills for everything,” Roach says. “I want to spread the joy, importance and relevance of reading. I want the kids to know that joy and fulfillment.”
Kim Wilks, principal at Trimpe, thanked Roach and all the Trimpe teachers for their efforts in making the event happen.
“We believe that reading starts in the home, so we wanted to involve parents as well — one of our big goals is to get the community involved in Trimpe,” Wilks said.