Cumberland Schools work to build love of reading

Published 6:45 pm Friday, March 3, 2023

This week Cumberland County Elementary School, along with schools across the country, took extra time to share the love of reading.

Read Across America is celebrated each year around March 2, which aligns with Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Elementary schools across the country have dress-up days, family engagement nights, reading times and other extra events to  promote literacy and encourage a love for reading. This year, Cumberland Elementary chose “Get Your Game on with Reading” for this year’s theme. 

“It’s a time of excitement as it builds throughout the week for our family engagement night on Thursday,” said Parrish Mort, the librarian at Cumberland County Elementary School. “

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According to Mort, the students are in for a fun week as each day there’s something new. Monday students wore their pajamas to school to “cozy up with a book,” Tuesday the students brought flashlights to class to read in the dark, Wednesday students brought in a stuffed animal to read with a buddy, Thursday students wore shirts or dressed up as their favorite character and Friday they wore something they loved because to show their love for reading. It all leads up to the Family Literacy Night on Thursday where students and families came to the school to play book-themed games. 

Throughout the week, members of the community will come into the classrooms to read, including a firefighter, a police officer, Commonwealth’s Attorney, a former graduate and college football player and more. Also during the day the school will have DEAR, drop everything and read. These announcements will happen randomly during the school day and no matter what students and teachers are doing, everyone stops to read. 

“During this time even the teachers are stopping to read,” said Mort. “We want to show the students that even adults enjoy reading and reading is important. That’s also why we have members from the community coming in to read. We want to model that everyone reads.”

Cumberland has already seen an increase in interest for reading after the school turned the cafeteria into the library. According to Mort, the larger space gives students a space with couches and tables to come throughout the week to get a new book. Mort also has the books front facing on the shelves since kids do judge books by their covers. The hope is to get the students to choose books they actually want to read and not just a book they’ll check out and leave in their backpacks for a week.