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Stylish fun for World Read Aloud Day

Students and faculty at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School brought their favorite book characters to life for World Read Aloud Day on Wednesday.

World Read Aloud Day was founded in 2010 by the nonprofit LitWorld as an opportunity for people worldwide to celebrate the joy of reading aloud and advocate for literacy “as a fundamental human right that belongs to everyone,” according to litworld.org.

Nansemond Parkway Elementary School held two assemblies in the school gym Wednesday morning to celebrate this global reading movement, and students and faculty were encouraged to dress up for the occasion as their favorite book characters.

Faculty members were dressed as characters from Dr. Seuss books and other favorite children’s books like “The Giving Tree,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Pirates Love Underpants.” Students also joined the costumed fun.

Fourth-grader Isabella Hill, 9, got to enjoy the assembly with one of her favorite books, “Isabella: Star of the Story.”

“I think it was super cool that it had my name on it, and I love how Isabella loves books and loves to explore,” she said.

Fourth-grader Jacob Fortes, 9, was dressed in his Hufflepuff robe from the “Harry Potter” series. He said he likes being a Hufflepuff because, “I get to let people know I like helping people, and (that) I’m kind and friendly.”

Fourth-grade teacher Kari Maskelony said her students enjoyed embodying their favorite stories through their fun costumes.

“I think our students enjoyed today immensely,” Maskelony, while dressed up as the Big Bad Wolf herself.

Nansemond Parkway Elementary School Title I Reading Specialist Tawnya Vogel and librarian Tosha Penkrot were both in costume for the assemblies. They talked to students about their personal favorite books, which was the American Girl Collection’s “Felicity Learns a Lesson” for Vogel, and “Thomas’ Snowsuit” for Penkrot.

The school raffled off money to faculty and staff members for them to buy classroom books, and Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III also attended to support the school’s reading celebration, according to Vogel.

Nansemond Parkway Elementary School Principal Jennifer Conner praised Mrs. Vogel, Mrs. Penkrot, Ms. Cohen and Mrs. Nelson for doing an outstanding job with the two assemblies on Wednesday morning.

“I was very impressed with the amount of participation by our students and staff and how engaged they were in the assemblies,” Conner wrote in an email. “These assemblies were a great kick-off for World Read Aloud Day at Nansemond Parkway.”

It was the first time the school participated in World Read Aloud Day, Vogel said, and the students were excited to listen and enjoyed the assemblies, which also sparked an interest for the students to read other books, as well.

It’s not easy to get kids excited about reading these days, Vogel said, because there are so many distractions.

“We’re competing now with video games and a lot of screens, and it’s really hard to make reading fun anymore, because they would rather be playing video games,” she said.

She said that the World Read Aloud event at the school was a good way to get them interested in seeking out other books through the school library and other resources, such as e-books.

“I think it was a great event, and we’ll do it again next year,” she said.