Suffolk children join reading masses

Published 5:46 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

Two Suffolk elementary schools will join a community of readers throughout Virginia schools that will all read the same story at the same pace.

Students at Hillpoint and Creekside elementary schools will join tens of thousands of students across the state that are participating in Virginia Reads One Book, a new program from Read to Them, a Richmond based non-profit that promotes family literacy.

Students at each school will receive copies of “The Lemonade War” by Jacqueline Davies, which they will read in school with their friends and teachers and at home with their families.

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Third-graders at Creekside Elementary School will receive copies of the book, and they will have opportunities to win prizes by correctly answering questions about the story, Principal Tara Moore said.

The more people read along, the more it becomes a community building event, according to Read to Them Programs Director Cathy Plageman.

“It becomes a real celebration of literacy,” she said in a phone interview.

This Monday, a Washington Redskins football player will read the first chapter to students via videocast. The students are also encouraged to participate in Kathryn Starke’s Tackle Reading program, which uses NFL players and other celebrities to teach good reading habits.

“The Lemonade War” describes the sibling rivalry between a brother and sister as they compete to find out who can sell the most lemonade over summer vacation. The book explores themes of sibling rivalry while also serving as a financial literacy lesson.

“’The Lemonade War’ is a book we’re using to not only support reading, but also math and economics,” said Hillpoint Elementary Academic Coach LuAnne LaPoint.

On Friday, Hillpoint students from second through fifth grades will watch a video of Davies giving a tour of her hometown locales that are featured in her story. The students will improve their writing skills with pre-writing activities and rough drafts.

They’ll answers questions about the latest chapters as the days go on, and professionals from Wells Fargo and other local sponsors will come by the school for even more financial literacy lessons.

The program encourages students of different grade levels to bond over the story, along with each student’s family. This makes reading more interesting than just homework, Plageman said.

“We want them to understand that reading is something you can do for joy, and not just for an assignment,” she said.

The program is sponsored by Virginia Bankers Association, Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, Virginia Council on Economic Education and Tackle Reading.

Visit readtothem.org/programs/virginia-reads-one-book for more information.