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PHCS dresses up as their favorite book characters

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PARISHVILLE - Strega Nona, the Cat in the Hat and Harry Potter were at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School on Friday, as students and faculty alike were taking part in Favorite Book Character Day.

The special school day was the finale of the four-day long celebration of National Young Readers’ Week.

The elementary school had Read Your Heart Out Day on Tuesday, Reading Makes Us Bright Wednesday and Crazy Hair Day Thursday.

Fourth-grade teacher Julia Pahler was dressed up as Strega Nona from the 1975 children’s book of the same name.

“Strega Nona is one of my favorite children’s books, and I just thought with school being so stressful and everything lately, (it’s good) to really celebrate reading and to bring those characters and these books that we don’t usually see very often in school any more, to bring them back to the classroom,” Ms. Pahler said. “This is probably a book that they may have read in first or second grade, but bringing it to the fourth-grade level of working on themes, working on the vocabulary works very well. For example, with the word barricade, we compared it to a flood, rather than a flood of pasta.”

Ms. Pahler also discussed how she believes the four-day stretch has impacted students habits and outlook on reading. “My class is really good with keeping up with their reading,” she said. “Our reading teacher, Rose Rivezzi, at our last assembly last month she brought up the idea of ‘stealing minutes.’ So any time (the students) have an extra minute or two of down time, they all have a book at their seats and they just pull it out and they just start reading. They’re really eager to do that.

“I find that they’re even rushing their assignments so they can steal those minutes. I have really good kids who are pretty eager in general to read whenever they can.”

National Young Readers’ Week is sponsored by the BOOK IT! program and featured a wide variety of ways to celebrate the week. On Tuesday’s schedule, elementary Principal Brooke Reid spent the entire day reading children’s books to 17 classrooms, some students wore sunglasses to school on Wednesday because “Reading Makes Us Bright” and students who are crazy about books were allowed to attend school with crazy hair-dos on Thursday.

Ms. Rivezzi, Title 1 reading teacher K-6, came to school dressed up as Harry Potter and found that her costume was both convenient and recognizable. “I think I started with the reading glasses. I had the right reading glasses and I had to have reading glasses. So they were the right round ones and that’s where I went from there,” Ms. Rivezzi said. “It’s interesting. I do bus duty in the morning and the older kids all right away knew that I was Harry Potter. I had my little Quidditch broom as well and they all knew that I was Harry Potter.

“The littler kids all thought I was a witch, and I think the broom kind of deceived them. Maybe if I had a wand, it might have been easier.”

Ms. Rivezzi noted that on top of National Young Readers’ Week, the school’s Oct. 25 PRIDE Day assembly acted as a great motivator for the students as well.

“At our last PRIDE Day assembly we talked a lot about why kids read, and I wanted to send them the message that they read for themselves. They’re not reading for their teachers or their parents or for school. They read for themselves,” she said.

“So we started a thing where we have these little coupons and if we catch kids stealing a minute to read or sneaking in some extra reading, we celebrate it with that. It’s more just to highlight ways kids sneak in reading and try to read.

“So I’ve had kids come up to me since we’ve started that initiative, where they know I’m looking for that and other teachers are looking for that. I had one little boy say to me the other day off the bus, ‘I’m in the middle of four books. There just isn’t enough time to read.’ That’s the kind of stuff I love to hear. So I think that initiative of trying to steal a minute and encouraging them to read for themselves was more than incentive. This (week) is just an extra celebration.”

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