By Elyana Schosek
In recent weeks, students at Springville Elementary School have been taking part in a unique program, PARP, which stands for Pick A Reading Partner.
“Learning to read is the single most important activity in a child’s education,” said Christine Roscow, a teacher at SES who is in charge of the program. Studies have shown that children who read at home are better prepared for success in school.
“PARP is a program that asks families to read with their children at home, stressing the fact that reading can be fun as well as informative,” Roscow said. “The choice of reading materials can vary from books to anything with printed words. The daily activity of reading together strengthens reading and communication skills in the child and also strengthens family relationships.”
What is also noteworthy is that the term “partner,” as used in the acronym PARP, is a general term which can be applied to any adult or older sibling who has an important role in the child’s life.
It was developed in 1978 by the late State Sen. James Donovan, Chairman of the State Senate Education Committee in 1987. The New York State Parent Teacher Association was asked to assume the program’s helm, and since then has administered the program.
The program lasts for a total of two weeks from March 11 to 22.
The theme of the program changes on a yearly basis. It is often a topic chosen to pique the students interests and encourage them to participate. Past themes include fairytale, space and safari.
The SES PTA sponsors the event so the theme is either chosen by PTA or the PARP committee.
“This year, we decided to give students a choice, which gives them a voice,” Roscow explained. “A suggestion box was put out in October where any students could make suggestions about potential themes. Then the top 5 ideas were put on a ballot ticket.
“On Election Day, each student went to the library where a simulated voting experience took place,” she said. “Just like their parents were doing that day. Minecraft was the overwhelming winner.”
Understandably, a program like this is a big undertaking.
“It takes an vast amount of preparation by many staff members, including teachers, teaching assistants, our PTA, the principal Mr. Scarpine, secretarial staff and custodial staff,” Roscow said. “One person could not possibly do it alone. It is really an SES team effort by all.”
PARP is a program that cements the necessary bond between the home and the school to encourage the love of reading in our children, she added.
Students who read five times with someone at school may place a raffle ticket in one of 13 boxes. Each box represents a prize to be won.
In addition to the regular activities of the program, a Minecraft activity night was held at the school this past Wednesday night. Students arrived and received a Minecraft themed goody bag with a rubber reading bracelet and a bookmark. Then there were 14 stations/activities that families could participate in.
These included a Minecraft photo booth with props, Minecraft animal scavenger hunt, mosaic photo frame, reading buttons, estimation station mining gems, Minecraft Uno, Minecraft tattoos, secret decoder message, magnetic building blocks, Creeper bowling and a Minecraft toss and a city builder online game.
Guidelines for the program are that the student picks someone to read with them for 15 minutes, five times a week and fill one of the slips that was sent home.