Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Racing theme helps promote literacy at Westside Elementary

Westside Elementary second-grader Cody Daharsh, 9, decorates a pennant for a rolling chair derby race between teachers during Literacy Week.

PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE | Special to the Times

Westside Elementary second-grader Cody Daharsh, 9, decorates a pennant for a rolling chair derby race between teachers during Literacy Week.

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.

Racing theme helps promote literacy at Westside Elementary 01/23/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 23, 2014 5:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida education news: Lawsuits, lawyers, school board pay and more


    IN COURT: A former Hillsborough County school district top administrator sues the School Board and its chief of staff, alleging board member corruption and …

    Hillsborough School Board member Susan Valdes is the subject of several allegations in a former employee's scathing lawsuit.
  2. Clearwater eyes hiring new downtown director within two months

    CLEARWATER — Now that the city director tasked with revitalizing downtown has resigned after his arrest on a battery charge during Oktoberfest, City Manager Bill Horne said the goal is to not leave the position vacant long.

    Clearwater Assistant City Manager  Micah Maxwell will oversee downtown until the city hires a replacement for Seth Taylor.
  3. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17


    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida


     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  5. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion


    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]