Other than the whisper of turning pages, classrooms at Charles M. Riccardi Elementary School were silent on the morning of Jan. 24 as all 325 students got lost in books. The school wide read-a-thon kicked off the annual Parents as Reading Partners (PARP) program. A PTA-sponsored initiative, PARP invites families to read together for 15 minutes each night, with a goal of improving both relationships and critical English Language Arts (ELA) skills that students are tested on annually beginning in third grade. The PTA also provides incentives to students to meet their reading goals throughout the course of the program.
Dressed in pajamas and curled up on soft blankets, students in Dana Murphy’s kindergarten class absorbed new vocabulary and built other Common Core ELA skills while exploring colorful books about trucks, penguins and snow. Students in the higher grades showed their knowledge about books in general, easily discerning between fiction and nonfiction during an assembly with children’s book author Helene Sola.
A Hudson Valley resident, Sola read aloud from her book, “Loo Loo and the Fabulous Marvelous RexxaRoo,” and fielded questions from the students about her creative process and the challenges of publishing a book. About half the youngsters said they might someday want to write books themselves. The PARP program will continue through the month at Riccardi and will include a variety of activities based on this year’s theme, “Dive into a Good Book.”