Thursday, March 8, 2012

Literacy Day

Every year, our school celebrates literacy day. It's a day devoted to reading and writing. To sharing our love for literature. I always do a read in and bring baskets of my favorite hardback books for the kids to read under covers with flashlights and stars over their heads. We also have a special guest author every year. Today was that special day. My children curled up in areas all around the room to read and write. I crawled from one person to the next...listening and asking questions as they read. This is not unusual for me, but today I wasn't looking to teach strategies...I was there to listen and share the love that I have for books.
My dear friend Theresa came to read. She is a published author, a fellow student's parent, and a good friend. She reads with the best voices. I can't read The Cat in the Hat because of English accent stinks and that's what she uses for the cat. I told my class that she is an author, an artist, a great reader with voices, and a person who will make you lean forward when you hear her read. You can't wait to hear the next word that comes out of her mouth. They all giggled at me and thought that I was being dramatic.

Can you see how they are all leaning in to get a better listen? My kiddos giggled, wooed, and aaahed as she worked her way through Skippyjon Jones and The Cat in the Hat. They broke out in applause when she was finished and begged for more. We said goodbye and my children quickly hustled back to their corners for some more reading. I watched as faces contorted and squeaky voices came from different parts of the room. The passion of reading was evident in my room today. I'm so thankful that I have my own personal mentor author/reader to help inspire others.
After lunch, it was our turn to have a small group assembly with the author Kelly Millner Halls. It was only the 3rd and 4th grade classes, 6 classes total. We carefully filled the cafeteria and watched as an older lady worked her way to the computer. The lights were dimmed and pictures of her books began to run across the screen.....

Saving the Baghdad Zoo
                   In Search of Sasquatch 
                                         Alien Investigations
                                                          Mysteries of the Mummy Kids
                                                                                 Tales of the Cryptids

The children got more excited with each cover. Kelly, as she likes to be called, began to talk about how she was different from other kids. She always had questions and was incredibly curious. This curiosity and wonderment led her to writing. She researches "weird" things and likes to share the evidence that she gathers. She questions things and looks for the hidden information.

She shared about Sasquatch/Bigfoot. She didn't state her opinion, but shared the evidence that was available and how excited scientist are at the prospect of Bigfoot being real. It's the next step from Gorillas to humans. She showed us a casting of Bigfoot's foot and how it's disabled and probably limps because of it (see the crooked looking mold in her hand).
Kelly didn't stop there though. She told the kids about a creature who has the head of a monkey and the body of a fish. She called this the Fiji Mermaid. She quickly stated that this animal was fictitious but showed one that she bought on EBay for $4. The kids thought it was amazing and of course wanted one of their own. She inspired the kids to challenge their thinking and to follow their matter how big or small they are.

Oh, I almost forgot to share that she brought fossilized dinosaur poo. The kids were so incredibly excited to check it out and touch it. How many times can you say that you've been able to touch million/billion year old dino poo? I'm sure that parents will be thrilled to hear about that.  
She's holding a Fiji Mermaid

Kelly also shared about a book she was working on. It's about a girl who dreamed of making an elephant hospital for injured elephants due to the fighting that was happening between two bordering countries. She dreamed about it as a young child and made it happen as an adult. Because of her dedication and belief in her dreams, she is saving injured elephants. How inspiring! Kelly was an amazing speaker....funny, relate able, and inspiring. I am so glad that my students got the opportunity to hear her speak. 

At the end of the day, the teachers performed/read a reader's theatre. Students past and present cheered. It was the perfect ending to an amazing day of literacy. I wish every day could be as fun. Tomorrow we'll read some of Kelly Millner Halls books and get inspired to ask more questions about the world around us. 


  1. Sounds like an amazing day that students will remember for a long time. I am impressed with the idea that your staff performed a reader's theater at the end of the day. That's a great idea.

  2. What a cool day of school! Don't you wish we could throw the testing out the window and just follow our hearts like that everyday? Your description of the day made me feel like I was there. Oh, how wonderful it would be to be an author like that!

  3. I could go for a day like this! Your kids will always remember the day they read all day and touch dinosaur poo!

  4. Your literacy day activities sound wonderful. We too had an author but it was a bit disappointing. Some people can really engage a large audience and some cannot.

  5. I love the picture of your kids all leaning in even though they thought you were being dramatic.

  6. What an amazing day and experience for the kids. Learning has been ignited in these kids, you can tell they have passionate teachers who bring pieces of the world in to them. What a day!

  7. How much fun and a day all will remember. What I loved is that at the end of the day the teachers performed a Reader's Theater.

  8. This post made me want to be a child in your school. What respect your building shows for the joy of reading and writing.

  9. Never had a day like this in a classroom. You are an amazing teacher and have an amazing school.

  10. Makes me want to grab a flashlight and get under the covers in my bed like a kid...what a fun experience for your students. Wonderful ideas for fueling a love of reading and learning.

  11. What a fantastic day! Makes me want to curl up on my couch and read. I love how excited your students were to read and how they leaned forward to hear every word of your classroom guest author.

    Thinking Out Loud