James H. Vernon School students launched into reading and explored outer space through the 2021 Pick a Reading Partner (PARP) campaign, “Reading is Out of this World!”
PARP is a PTA-run, national initiative that aims to encourage reading and instill a lifelong love of books. Throughout the week, students are asked to read at least 15 minutes per day with their reading partner and keep a log of their progress.
PARP Committee Chairpersons Ms. Karen Nobel and Ms. Christine Cali, along with parent volunteers, brought the theme to life with galactical-themed decorations in the hallways and a menu of activities for each day of the campaign.
During the week students participated in classroom and home activities. At school, they wore space-themed shirts and participated in a “wacky hair day” where they used their imaginations to create hairstyles from a galaxy far away. They shared their favorite jokes for “Joke in Your Pocket” day, completed three acts of kindness for “Be Kind” day, and wore pajamas to cozy up with a good book for “Pajama Day.”
Adding to the excitement, parents virtually visited the classrooms to read space-themed books to the students, and library media specialist Ms. Virginia Kemp visited each class to lead an outer space trivia challenge that ignited some friendly competition among classrooms. The class with the highest score will have the honor of naming a star!
At home, students used their creativity to write a story about what life might be like on another planet and visited NASA’s website to see who is currently boarding the International Space Station (ISS). They also studied star constellations and watched astronaut Mark Kelly read his book “Mousenaught” while in space!
During a kick-off event, students were challenged to earn more than 2 million points for reading. Because Vernon students are such good readers, they met that challenge, which means Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio will dress up as an alien for one day!
“Many thanks to our PTA, our parent volunteer readers, and Ms. Kemp for making PARP an exciting and motivational reading campaign throughout our building while adhering to our health and safety protocols,” said Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio. “Pivoting to virtual events, while still integrating the theme throughout the building, within the classrooms and with home activities made for a PARP event that was truly ‘out of this world’ for our students.”
This campaign is one of many ways the PARP committee celebrates reading throughout the year. This year, the committee is exploring virtual author visits and other activities that align with health and safety measures.