Reading forts, trivia games, a writing contest and prizes will be new features of Read Across America Day, Friday, Feb. 28.
The changes, spearheaded by librarian Joanne Melinson and assistant librarian Mollie Hawkins, were created because of the changes in Matthews Library, which underwent a remodel last year.
“The old library was in a way cozier, so we are trying to bring a little of that back,” Melinson said.
To increase the coziness, reading forts made of fabric will be placed around the library and can be booked by entire classes. In addition, trivia games and a writing contest will be held throughout the day, both of which will have prizes.
Melinson got the idea of a creative writing contest from teacher Ron Bell, who asked to bring his class in for a writing session. She has expanded the contest to include applicants from all grades of the high school.
A social media component will be added, too. Any class that sends Melinson a picture of their class reading during the all-school afternoon reading period (2:30 – 2:45) will be given candy by Melinson the following week.
Although Melinson expects to have several tables open for students to quietly complete their homework, classrooms will be open on a rotating basis to accommodate those who don’t want to read.
The final change is a calendar shift. Typically, Read Across America Day is celebrated on renowned author Theodor Seuss Geisel’s (Dr. Seuss) birthday. However, because his March 2 birthday falls during the weekend this year, Melinson shifted the date for the reading day.
Melinson guarantees a guest Cat in the Hat announcement, something that was lost in a misunderstanding last year. Typically, an announcement on the schoolwide PA system ushers in the schoolwide reading period.
“Last year Sue Ryan (head librarian of the Winters Library) thought that I would make the announcement, and I thought that she would make the announcement, so it ended up that there was no announcement,” Melinson said. “This year will be different.”
Melinson also may expand the “Starbooks” cafe, typically just for teachers, into one that can also be enjoyed by student readers. The cafe features coffee and teas as well as assorted baked goods.
Melinson hopes that the changes will increase participation, and many students say they’re looking forward to the event.
“I love Read Across America Day. I’m so excited for the reading forts. I can’t wait!” sophomore America Lopez said.