June 9, 2011

Reading is Fundamentally Fun

by William (Coach) Jackson and Nancy (Fancy Nancy) Rentz
Andrew Robinson Elementary

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children.
One of these is roots; the other, wings."Hodding Carter
The Reading Celebration at Andrew Robinson Elementary was attended by characters from storybooks ranging from the Cat In The Hat, High School Musical, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Naruto, Star Wars, Captain Under Pants, Spiderman, Billy Goat Gruff, Skippy John Jones, Ramona Quimby, other novels, kids books and works of fiction and nonfiction. Grades Pre-K to fifth experience the joy, excitement and imagination
gained from reading diverse books. ARE embraces reading that opens doors to the imagination, has a lifelong value and direct impact on future success academically and career choices.

The pictures from the recent Reading Celebration shows the value reading has and the inclusiveness of all grades in the celebration. Involving the community has been one of the wonderful traits of Andrew Robinson Elementary. Being a community school, Title One and Magnet School, community involvement is critical to the success of the
students. The reading parade through the neighborhood provided an opportunity for the community to see great successes ongoing at ARE.
Lead by Media Specialists Mrs. Nancy Rentz AKA Fancy Nancy, Principal Crystal Lewis the celebration was fun, culturally awakening and equally inclusive of all grades.

Reading Coach, Mrs. Walsh-Lopez provides professional development that assists teachers with empowering tools encourage reading by students, using data to guide appropriate instruction. Using the Family Engagement Center (Nicky Crawford, Title I Parent Liaison) to encourage parents to promote reading at home. Offering free workshops, seminars and classroom visits so that parents have access to tools that they
can use at home. The schools “Blast Off To College Preparation” theme instills in the young minds of students even in Pre-K that college is
a possibility not an impossible goal. Embedding in youthful minds
that they are capable of graduating high school and attending
colleges like their role models that they see every day
(their teachers).

Inclusive to reading are visits by motivational speakers like Deonte Bridges, Dr. Johnny Gaffney (City Council Member), Attorney Kevin
Cobbin, Authors (Heather Surface and Jane Word). The developing
mentoring relationships with Jacksonville Giants and other
local businesses provide a chance for professionals in the community
to contribute and give emphasis to the importance of reading. This
takes the term, “It takes a village to raise leaders” to a new
level of accountability.

Andrew Robinson Elementary Schools success is the product of administrators, faculty, staff and support personnel, taking responsibility and ownership for the learning of all
students. “Reading is Fundamental” to the success of all students,
from 3year old PreK students to rising middle school students of the
fifth grade graduating class.

National and district reading scores have shown that early success in reading leads to academic success from elementary school to high school. Those students that are reading on grade level are more likely to
graduate high school and enroll in college.

Andrew Robinson Elementary embraces the concept NOW - “No Opportunity Wasted” for instruction. Learning is continuous, comprehensive and fun..There is the use of exploration, ownership of learning and strategies, rituals and routines. Students are taught to take
advantage of every moment to learn. ARE will also
implement the Ride and Read Program from the Jacksonville Public Library
http://jpl.coj.net/lib/r2rprogram.html – where students flash there library card and receive a coupon to hop on a JTA bus. Look at the
joy and excitement of the students as they participate in
celebrating reading. This is not from video games, monetary
rewards, grades on report cards or other incentives. The pure
desire to become great readers and given the opportunity to show
what they (students) know.

William Jackson, M.Ed.
Teacher DCPS
Invitation to visit Andrew Robinson Elementary

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