SPRING HILL — Westside Elementary School students could be found bent over their desks recently, decorating pennants in anticipation of the derby race that would be held later in the week. The children and their teachers were focused the state's Literacy Week theme: "Reading Accelerates Success."
The racing theme that was chosen at Westside was carried throughout the week's activities, said fourth-grade teacher Melissa Tomlinson. There were visiting antique cars at the school. The pennants, decorated with the names and pictures of the children's favorite books, were hung up and down the hallways.
One day, the children took blankets to school for some outdoor reading time. All week, they earned pit passes, used to nominate teachers for the end-of-the-week derby race. The race was done with decorated rolling chairs. The pit passes were earned by reading books and passing Accelerated Reader comprehension tests.
As an added bonus, the class with the most pit passes won a pizza party, donated by Pizza Hut.
For all of the talk about cars and racing, though, books were the week's main focus, and as the students decorated their pennants, some shared their favorites.
Second-grader Delaney Boutin, 7, was making a drawing of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. She likes the book because it is funny.
"Mouses don't eat cookies," she said.
Second-grader Cody Daharsh, 9, drew a space shuttle, representing his book, A Trip Into Space.
"It's like an airplane landing, but what I really like is the Army," he said.
Second-grader Nia Brown, 7, had not read the book she chose, but the name, I Wish That I Had Duck Feet, was funny enough to interest her.
"I picked it because the pictures are wonderful and the people have interesting faces," she said,
Third-grader Annamary Baltazar, 9, chose The Custodian from the Black Lagoon.
"It was the first book that I read (this year), and it was a funny book," she said
The evening after the derby, won by math resource teacher Erin Anderson, who teamed with reading resource teacher Deb Pepin, children and parents were invited back to school for a courtyard movie. The students and their families were treated to Disney's Cars, popcorn, hot chocolate and candy.