Elementary schools start ‘Lemonade War’

Published 10:13 pm Monday, February 5, 2018

Vickie Wilson’s students started another chapter book on Monday for class, but there was something different this time.

This was the first book read to them by Washington Redskins guard Arie Kouandjio.

Second through fifth-grade classrooms throughout Hillpoint Elementary School played video of the football player reading “The Lemonade War” by Jacqueline Davies. Each student got a copy of the book to keep, along with lemonade to enjoy as they read.

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“It’s good, sweet and a bit sour, too,” said Wyatt Parker, 9, using descriptive words like he learned in class.

Approximately 550 students at Hillpoint Elementary School joined Creekside Elementary students and tens of thousands more across the state to kickoff Virginia Reads One Book, a new program from Read to Them, a Richmond-based nonprofit that promotes family literacy.

“I love that they have a football player kicking it off, especially after Super Bowl weekend,” said Principal Catherine Pichon. “I wish it was a Saints player, but it’s exciting for the students.”

The program makes reading more interesting for students by having them read the same book at the same pace to engage and bond them.

“If you can engage them like today and draw them into it, then it’s really effective,” Wilson said.

Kouandjio read the first chapter of the story that describes a sibling rivalry between a brother and sister as they compete to find out who can sell the most lemonade over summer vacation.

The students discussed the budding feud between fictional siblings Evan and Jessie. Wilson asked them to make inferences and drawn conclusions about a secret letter in the chapter that frustrated Evan, who didn’t want to spend time his sister, Jessie.

“I don’t know what it says yet, but it must have been something that upset him, because now he just wants to be alone and not talk to anyone,” said Michael Maggio, 10.

“I think the letter is from one of his friends, like they’re moving or something,” said Lilly McIvor, 10.

“Maybe he got expelled for some reason,” said Seve’n Daughtrey, 10, who also suggested it could be from a “frenemy.”

On Friday, Hillpoint students watched a video of Davies giving a tour of her hometown locales that are featured in the story. They then improved their writing skills with exercises in pre-writing and rough drafts.

Further discussions and classroom activities will reinforce vocabulary words and economic lessons from the story, Wilson said.

“If you can get them hooked on what’s going to happen next and build it up, then they’ll want to keep reading with you,” she said.

Students will be assigned chapters to read at home with family.

“We can bring the family on board to incorporate literacy in their homes and to help them learn about finances,” said Hillpoint Elementary Academic Coach LuAnne LaPoint.

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.