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Marshville Elementary teachers aim to keep reading skills high

Marshville Elementary Principal Julia Rackley, at left, and Jill Zandrowicz, a fifth-grade teacher at Marshville Elementary, assist Meshelle Lira Rodriguez in checking out a book. (Below) Jill assists a Marshville Elementary student in checking out a book for some summer reading fun.

Statistics show that it’s vitally important that children continue to read over the summer months.

“Children tend to lose reading levels over the summer if they don’t practice the skills they’ve learned in the classroom over the year,” said Marshville Elementary Principal Julia Rackley.

To help students maintain their reading skills, and not lose ground, Marshville Elementary School teachers are once again taking the library to the students via an activity bus.

“In the past we have had summer programs at the school site and they weren’t very well attended,” Rackley said. “We’ve just found we reach so many more kids and families by going into their neighborhoods and taking the books to them.”

Two days a week, this mobile library leaves the school at 9 a.m., travels to about a half dozen neighborhoods, and continues checking out books until about 1 p.m. This is the third year the school has provided a mobile library. This year’s bookmobile began it routes on June 23. It will continue until Aug. 6.

It stays at each stop about 20 minutes, giving ample time for students in the community to come return checked out books and get more.

Jill Zandrowicz, a fifth-grade teacher at Marshville Elementary, has participated in the summer bookmobile project since its inception. She said besides getting students to read over the summer, there are also benefits for the teachers.

“It gets the teachers interacting with the kids,” she said. “We’re putting ourselves out there, getting to know the parents and the other students who aren’t in our own classrooms. We’re a variety of teachers from different grade levels and we get to see kids from different grade levels. It really is great to create that relationship with students of all different ages.”

Helen Calderon-Gongora, 6, a kindergarten student, said she enjoys books about Dora and Barbie.

“My favorite story is Dora,” Helen said. “I read books at my house. I read every day. My mom tells me to. I can’t read right now though, because I’m going to the pool.”

Rackley said even though most of the students probably have books at home, checking out new books is tons of fun.

“I remember that as a child,” she said. “We had books at home, but I loved going to the library. It was just a completely different experience.

When all is said and done, however, it’s the excitement on the faces of the kids when they see the Marshville bookmobile that keeps the teachers coming back.

“I love it,” Jill said. “Getting to see the smiles on their faces and getting to see them is something that is priceless.”

The bookmobile reaches about 85 students each day, but Rackley said it’s not so much about the numbers as it is about the results. “Every child makes a difference,” she said.

Written by: Deb Bledsoe - UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Jul 22, 2015 by Deb Bledsoe

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