Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Education

Reading corner at Spring Hill Elementary allows kids to curl up with books

SPRING HILL — It can be really nice to curl up in a comfy chair and read a book, and Spring Hill Elementary School has recognized this with the creation of the Goodnight Moon reading corner in the school's media center.

The wall is painted bright blue and green. The green is the inside of a house. The blue is the night sky with stars. A painting of a cow jumping over the moon is depicted above a fireplace, which is painted on the green part of the wall. It was made three dimensional with the addition of two small pillars (painted cardboard rolls) holding up a mantle-like shelf. Yellow and green striped curtains flank the entire scene.

"We just wanted a quiet, serene reading corner," said assistant principal Kristen Tormey. "It's important to remember we need time to read for pleasure."

The area was painted by community member/school volunteer Cindi Sierak, who, Tormey said, "has a knack for art and painting." She has also done artwork on the kindergarten and first-grade hallway walls.

First-grader Crystal Ni, 7, likes the spot, "because it's a nice place to read." She likes the "comfy chair." The chairs used to be in principal Michael Maine's office. He donated them to the Goodnight Moon corner.

First-grader Dominic Ciccarello, 6, also likes the area, "because it has a fireplace, because on cold days it calms me down."

Susan Timberlake is the school's media specialist.

"The students love the corner," Timberlake said, "because it gives them the opportunity to take a deep breath, settle in and enjoy a good book. It's relaxing, too. Our focus today is all about technology, but this is here to remind us that's it's important to curl up with a good book."

Children are welcome to read in the cozy corner during open media center or when they have media center time.

Near the reading corner is another reading-related area, a small room where school volunteer Carol Ellis meets with her Spring Hill Elementary Book Club. Ellis is a retired elementary school assistant principal who wasn't ready to leave the school scene altogether. She decided to start a book club at Spring Hill Elementary in cooperation with Barbara Sullivan, who is teaching fourth grade.

The number of students in the club is limited to six, and each applied to be included by writing an essay and doing an interview. Ellis and Sullivan determine if the experience will enhance a particular child's reading.

They read books from the Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Program book list. The students come to book club having read a certain number of pages. Sometimes they have writing assignments.

Ellis has been doing this for five years. It has worked out that she has had the same children for three of those years.

They meet weekly for an hour and have discussions about what they have read. Oh, and snacks.

Hernando County offers an annual Battle of the Books. The event is a countywide competition that tests reading comprehension and retention. The students read Young Readers-designated books beforehand and answer questions about them. The school will be entering again this year.

"Our school currently has the trophy," Ellis said.

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