School Uses Reading to Teach Character
Van Holten celebrates Read Across America.
Combining the joy of reading with the importance of building character in the students, Van Holten Primary School held its annual Read Across America and celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday at the school Friday.
The event was coordinated by guidance counselor Staci Miller, who said she and Elementary Teaching Specialist Audrey Nelson have decided to combine the program with character education.
The event kicked off with the students singing a song about borrowing books from the library before several teachers, including principal George Rauh, dressed as various Dr. Seuss characters to talk about the late Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, and whose birthday is celebrate Saturday.
From there, four fourth grade volunteers took part in a skit that talked about making the right choices.
"The fourth graders go to kindergarten classes to read about deciding to make good choices," Miller said. "I asked the fourth graders for the biggest thing they worry about, and they said the bus."
Miller said the volunteers came up with the concept to perform a skit about trying to find a seat on the bus, and the decision to make the right choice to not exclude anyone.
"We have gotten more focused on character education in this program," she said.
This skit was followed by a reading of "One" by Kathryn Otoshi, a book that all the classes have read about being an "upstander" and standing up to bullies.
The book is about one color bullying the others, until the number "1" decides to stand up to him and refuse to be a victim.
"It brings everything together and it is a book they are familiar with," Miller said.
Miller said the school has been focusing on these pillars of character for the past six years, with a look at doing positive work.
"We don't like to use the word bully," she said. "It is about what we do to respect others and share."
Miller said the kids enjoy watching these skits, and it is great to bring a book like "One" to the stage.
"We try to bring the characters of the book to life, it brings to life the words of the book," she said. "When we do role playing at this age, kids can grasp the concept more."
"It is better than just reading the book out loud," she added. "And I think the students enjoy seeing the teachers, it's memorable."
The program ended with a singalong about reading, to the tune of "I've Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas, plus teachers spent the afternoon reading to the classes.