SPRING HILL — Explorer K-8 School had its first literacy parade on a recent 70-degree afternoon. The school's approximately 1,800 students — minus those who were in the parade — fit nicely around the perimeter of the bus loop.
Students earned the right to march in the parade by being accomplished or improved readers, or by winning the principal's writing challenge. The parade began with kindergartners, some of whom carried big teddy bear-shaped signs that read "Be everything and read."
Those children were followed by first-graders, up to middle school students. On their way around the loop, those in the parade handed out bookmarks, beads and books.
The parade was a culmination of Celebrate Literacy Week Florida! The students were encouraged to wear red all week — standing for "read every day."
Every student decorated a circle of colored paper about the size of a small plate with the name and/or a drawing of a favorite book. These were posted along the wall in the school's mall area, creating a gigantic bookworm.
On "One School One Book" day, all Explorer students read the same book. The children also created bookmarks. On "Enter a Different World and Read" day, students visited classrooms different from their own and heard another teacher read to them.
There also was a "Find a Buddy and Read" day.
During the evening after the parade, prekindergarten through third-grade students were invited back to school for "Snuggle Up and Read" day. There were stations in the library where students could hear teachers, administrators or the media specialist read to them. Later, they were invited to the cafeteria for hot cocoa, juice and cookies.