By Aaron Griffith, AmeriCorps Member, Serving at McDonough Elementary School

The week of March 23rd-27th at McDonough Elementary School brought our students into the land of literacy. On Monday, the Scholastic Book Fair opened in our school’s library with students eagerly streaming in to choose and make purchases from a colorful spread of books, from toddler picture books to celebrity trivia books to middle school level chapter books. As City Year corps members, we had the opportunity during the week to work a shift at the Book Fair and it was wonderful to see students get so excited about books.

Students, teachers, and staff also got to engage in some friendly literacy competition with the annual door decorating contest. On almost every classroom door, classes designed a creative representation of literacy, through themes such as underwater creatures, springtime critters, and characters from Dr. Seuss, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Despicable Me. My teacher allowed me to come up with my class’s design which featured the words “POP Open a Good Book!” and a bucket of popcorn with each student’s favorite book written on a kernel.  All of the doors brightened up the hallways while promoting a love for reading.

Thursday continued the theme of literacy as students and staff had the opportunity to dress up as their favorite book characters. Many of the McDonough faculty and staff, including my team and I, participated which included favorites like Matilda, Ms. Frizzle, Junie B. Jones, Katniss Everdeen, and the Cat in the Hat. I dressed as Waldo and I was approached by students all day saying, “I found you!” The day concluded with an assembly and fashion show for all who dressed up, including our principal for the day, The Lorax.

The literary fun continued into Thursday evening with Literacy Night, a completely City Year- run event. Organized by our Literacy Coordinator, Brittney Dyana Davis, the event allowed students to actively engage themselves in literacy activities at stations themed on every decade from the 1940s to 2000s. From rhyming word PacMan of the ‘80s to creating acrostic poem flower headbands of the ‘60s, students and parents had fun honing in on their literacy skills. I ran a 1950s Diner inspired station where students used spatulas to identify sight words written on “records” on the wall. They had a blast! While our stations were in the gym and cafeteria, the Book Fair was also open for parents and children to explore. In the hallways, teachers had set up tables displaying student work from the year. In all, it was a hugely successful event!

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