Elementary school to host Scholastic Book Fair


By Lisa Scott

Special to The PREVIEW

Pagosa Springs Elementary School will host a Scholastic Book Fair March 4-14 during school hours in the school library.

Families, teachers and the community are invited to attend the Fair, which will feature a special theme: Story Laboratory — Reading Gives You Super Power!

Many activities at the school accompany the Book Fair and the laboratory theme, as this is an exciting time for students, and a fun and gratifying way to increase interest in reading for pleasure.

Family Night will be held Thursday, March 7, from 5-7 p.m. The Partners In Education Committee (P.I.E.) has organized the evening. The Mad Scientist, a Denver-based performance, will be in town to present “Spin, Pop, Boom,” a chemistry show that will also encourage getting a charge out of reading and inspiring brain power. The 50-minute show will begin at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.

A delicious and nutritious homemade dinner will be served in the cafeteria. All families are invited to the school for an evening full of “laboratory” fun, to shop the Book Fair, and to enjoy a meal together.

English Language Learner (ELL) students and their families are given a special invitation to attend a Bingo session. Bobbie Lassman, ELL instructor, hosts the event for families to get to know one another and realize that there are many students and families working to learn English.

This Book Fair was scheduled to coincide with parent/teacher conference nights so there is another opportunity for busy families to visit the Fair together. Students love showing their families the decorations and the books they have their eye on.

A reading challenge began in mid-February, challenging each student to read 15 minutes at home every day. The school goal for the seven-week reading challenge is to reach a cumulative total of 100,000 minutes. For each day a student completes the 15-minute assignment, they record it on a special reading log.  As incremental goals are met, students can turn in a log ticket to earn their name on the periodic table that is specially created for this event. The periodic table cells will be posted in the school hall so everyone can watch the reading minutes grow. Every entry will also be included in a special drawing for a variety of incentive prizes.

At the end of the reading challenge period, if the students have met the 100,000 minute goal, Principal Lister and Vice Principal Jordan dress up as “mad” scientists for a day.

A week prior to the opening of Book Fair, the large wall in the central front hallway will be decorated. A laboratory scene will be created, complete with a reading accelerator control panel, hand scanner for authorized entry, the readbot-robot, and other decor that inspires high voltage readers.

Students visit the Book Fair with their class once each week. The first week, they preview the books for sale, especially the new releases. There are a wide variety of books and price ranges available and there is always a huge supply of bargain items priced as low as $1.99. The second week, students view the “Author DVD” supplied by Scholastic, which features authors discussing the books they wrote with kids in mind.

The elementary school has been hosting a book fair since 1982. The fall Book Fair netted the school $2,138 in cash and over $670 in books for the school library. Proceeds from book fairs are used for reading and educational improvements and to help fund the purchase of necessary unbudgeted supplies for the school. The goal this year is to build and replace chapter book collections for classroom libraries and to purchase a portable stage.

The variety of reading that is done at each grade level is vast. The first goal is to have a variety of genre and authors that the students can read in class together, out loud, with a mentor or a buddy, alone, or at home. The second goal is to build vocabulary. Finally, teachers strive to expose students to different authors and genres of books that give a child insight into other cultures, worldwide locations, opinions and vantage points, history and the future, expand the imagination, and much more.

Many of the school’s current titles are tattered and worn, and in need of replacement. Additionally, each classroom is trying to accumulate six-10 books of the same title to encourage group reading — like a book club. There is also a focus to add rich literature to the upper grade levels.

The current stage at the school is a handmade plywood box that weighs a ton and is difficult to move and store. The school uses the stage more than 25 times during the school year and a portable stage with a higher rise and several modern features would be greatly appreciated.

Funds from the fall fair and this fair will be used to fund the purchase of new titles and a portable stage.

Individuals attending the event can also help build individual classroom libraries by purchasing books for teachers through the Classroom Wish List Program that is highlighted within the Book Fair.

The Book Fair will offer specially priced books and educational products, including newly released titles, award-winning titles, children’s classics, beautiful hardback books, interactive software, and book titles from more than 150 publishers. There are products for all age ranges and many excellent gift ideas.

Community members are invited to attend the Book Fair as shoppers or volunteers during fair hours as the event is hosted in the school library and staffed by volunteers.

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Lisa Scott at 264-2730 or sranch@centurytel.net.