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'Community Reading Night' highlights importance of reading

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published: March 12, 2014 12:00 AM
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Streetsboro -- A variety of community members were busy Feb. 27 reading to about 100 second- and third-graders and their parents during "Community Reading Night" at Campus Elementary School.

During the event, children rotated from room to room to hear stories read by familiar faces in Streetsboro, including Mayor Glenn Broska, Streetsboro High School Varsity Football Coach John Arlesic, Streetsboro High School Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Allison Carey, DARE Officer Jason Fogleman, Healthy Kids Pediatric's Dr. Marcus Baratian, Young Explorers Montessori Preschool Director Eileen Osborn, PTA President Tracy Campbell and more.

"We were really careful to choose books that have an important visible element," said Kristen Cottrell, Campus Elementary School principal. "Well done visual images help kids with reading and decoding text."

Cottrell said she picked the readers carefully, trying to bring in people the students would know. For example, another reader, Adam Apinis, a programmer with the Streetsboro Parks & Recreation Department, is well known to a many young children in Streetsboro.

"They see him from the sports and recreation side, but here they come and see reading's important to him, too," said Cottrell.

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In each room, the community members sat and read, usually with some or all the lights off, and each page was projected on a screen, so students could see illustrations easily.

Cottrell said the first-year event was well-received.

"I actually had parents say, 'Oh, it could have gone longer,'" she said. "For the first time around, there were a lot of people in there. If we could bump that up to 150 or 200 kids, this could be a hoppin' time."

Arlesic said he was glad Cottrell asked him to participate.

"It's great to see the community come together for something like this, which is really positive for the kids," he said.

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At the end of the event, the celebrities signed the books they were reading, and they were raffled off to students. The grand prize included a basket of books and other goodies, said Cottrell.

On Feb. 28, classes at Campus participated in "Read the Most From Coast to Coast," a day dedicated to helping students meet their AR reading goals, said Cottrell. Each grading period, students set individual reading goals, based on a point system, in which they read on their own and are quizzed on books the next day.

"The goal nationwide is to have kids pass 5 million reading tests [on Feb. 28]," she said. "The whole building is participating that event."

According to Renaissance Learning's website, students passed 4,987,949 that day.

First-grade teacher Kristi Divis said the AR reading program helps encourage individual reading with rewards for attaining their individual reading goals.

"It makes them accountable and it makes them excited to meet their goals," she said. "They all have their own goal, and they choose books at their level."

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

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