Story and Slideshow: Haddonfield schools celebrate Read Across America Week

Elementary schools take part in event that highlights the importance of reading

Lily Mack-Allen (left) and Sage Bittner (right) stand beside Neil Bittner in as he reads a book.

Schools in Haddonfield, like many schools across the country, took part in the Read Across America event last week.

On Thursday, Central Elementary School held its “Hop on Pop” day. Dads, grandfathers and uncles came to the school and read stories out loud stories to the students.

“I think it is just a testament to teachers, the students and the families here at Central School and Elizabeth Haddon who is also participating,” said Jessica Miller, Central’s media specialist. “Our community here in Haddonfield is very educationally focused. I think to see the students get so excited reading is such an awesome feeling and a great thing as a media specialist to really be able to be a part of this week.”

Central Elementary School has teamed with Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School to create a goal of 60,000 hours of reading, 30,000 by each school. Central has eclipsed 20,000 minutes so far and the total keeps growing. Haddonfield has used different methods to get that many minutes.

“One of the activities that we added this year was Read Across Haddonfield,” Central Principal Shannon Simkis said. “Our students were challenged to find spots in the community to read, and they found many different places to read in the sports clubs, with their families, with their dogs. Our police officers ‘caught’ kids reading. They also were in our Postal Service van reading. We are catching kids reading in the community. We are encouraging parents to send pictures of their kids reading in these places so that we can celebrate all the places that kids could read in the town and community. It also shows how we are bringing this town and the community together.”

Students at J Fithian Tatem form a reading chain in the hallways of the school

Not to be outdone, J Fithian Tatem Elementary School also took part in Read Across America Week. The students there participated in a hallway reading chain, where everyone in the building from kindergarteners to adults stop to read for 15 minutes. It created a long reading chain throughout hallways of the school. They also had a reading café set up as well as a book donation drive.

“We have certain holidays that make us think about bigger meanings,” said Nina Wojtowicz, Tatem’s language arts specialist. “During the winter, we have holidays that make us think about now nice it is to be around our families. Thanksgiving reminds us to be thankful for what we have. I’m hoping that Read Across America Week reinforced the message that reading is something that is important.”

While everyone enjoyed the reading time, there was one important takeaway from Read Across America Week.

“The ultimate goal, and what Dr. Seuss’ message was, is that reading is fun,” Miller said. “As long as our students can be engaged in activities where they see that reading is an enjoyable activity they see their parents that reading and that reading is fun and can be done throughout their life, that is the ultimate goal that students understand and really love reading and become lifelong readers.”

Click the box below to see more pictures from Central Elementary’s “Hop on Pop” Day.

Central Elementary "Hop on Pop" Event