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Roosevelt Saddles Up with A Reading Partner for PARP

Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School students were invited to “saddle up with a reading partner, mosey on over to a comfy spot and lasso a good book” during its spring Pick a Reading Partner (PARP) campaign. The month-long campaign culminated with a “Principal’s Challenge,” which students earned after meeting a school-wide reading goal.


Sponsored by the New York State PTA, PARP fosters a lifelong love of reading in children by encouraging students to read at home with a family member for at least 15 minutes per day and recording their efforts. To keep the momentum for reading going, students participate in various reading activities throughout the campaign.


Coordinated by PTA PARP chairpersons Ms. Jeanne Laurita and Ms. Christine Cali, students recorded their reading on “Book Bucks” that were submitted at the end of each week. If students reached a school-wide goal of 5,000 Book Buck submissions, they would be treated to a Principal’s Challenge. Roosevelt students proved to be a school of active readers as they surpassed their school goal easily, earning them the challenge! This year, Principal Ms. Tami McElwee had to compete against a “Book Bandit,” otherwise known as Dr. Ryan O’Hara, K-12 Supervisor of English Language Arts, Reading and Library Media, in a race around cones set up in the gymnasium. She also was challenged to convince the book bandit that he doesn’t have to steal books to read, he can visit the library and borrow books for free—a real “ah, ha” moment for the Book Bandit! Ms. McElwee didn’t win the race but she was successful in turning around the book bandit’s misguided ways, which won cheers from the students!

Principal McElwee scolds the "Book Bandit"  Dr. O'Hara and Principal McElwee at Principal's Challenge 2019      

The Principal’s Challenge was the culmination of the month-long campaign that featured a menu of activities that aligned with the western theme, including “Hit the Trail,” which encouraged students to find and read a trail mix recipe and follow the directions to make it, and “Howdy Partner”, which encouraged students to pick a partner and read together. Some other activities included, reading T-shirts on Read My Tee day, telling jokes on Wacky Wednesday, reading billboards and signs on I Spy day, and wearing red for Read Every Day day. The month also featured a stuffed animal sleepover, and a visit by children’s author and illustrator Kathleen Bart who delighted students with her charming presentation of one of her teddy bear-themed books, “A Tale of Two Teddies.” Ms. Bart enlightened students about the history of teddy bears and even showed students how to illustrate their own bear. The PTA generously donated copies of her books to students in pre-k, kindergarten and second grade, and the Pasquaretto Family graciously donated copies of her books to the entire first-grade class!

 PARP volunteers dressed in western garb  PARP coordinators instruct volunteers  parp volunteers with books

No PARP campaign at Roosevelt would be complete without a Read-In by parent volunteers. Donning cowboy hats and bandanas, volunteers visited classrooms to read western-themed books to students, assist them with a western-themed craft and dole out western-themed snacks that they specially prepared for the event. 


“Many thanks to Principal Ms. Tami McElwee, library media specialist Roseann Davidson, literacy coach Ms. Chris Bartell, the PARP Committee volunteers, staff and students for their overwhelming support of the PARP program,” said PARP chairpersons Ms. Laurita and Ms. Cali.


Each year, the PARP committee encourages the love of reading by hosting assemblies, author visits and more. PARP events can be found on the district website. Click on “PARP” in the “Quick Links” section of the Roosevelt Elementary School webpage for updates.