During the month of February, H. M. Pearson families and teaching staff curled up virtually for bedtime stories featuring a mystery guest reader. Over the course of 17 nights on Sunday through Thursday evenings, Pearson staff members picked a story that they particularly enjoyed to share with students. Each night, families signed in through Google Meet for a new Bedtime Story event. As an added incentive to participate, students recorded the book titles and guest readers’ names on their reading calendars and the form served as their entry ticket for a chance to win raffle prizes.
According to Ms. Darcy Owens, HMP reading specialist and event organizer, “The students were so excited to see who the mystery reader was each night and they and the staff members participated in lively discussions before and after each story was read.”
Additionally, Spirit Days were held on Tuesday, March 2 for A-day students and Friday, March 5 for B-day students in which students and staff dressed up as a favorite book character. Information about the events were shared through Google Classroom posts, emails, notices in the HMP Weekly Wrap-Up Newsletters, automated calls, and morning and afternoon announcements.
The culminating activity was a drive-through Character Parade held on Tuesday, March 2 from 5:30-6 p.m. Staff members dressed as characters from the books they read on Bedtime Story night lined the bus loop as students and their families, some of whom were also in costume, drove through to see the display. Every child received a “Pop Open a Good Book”-themed goodie bag containing an individually wrapped bag of popcorn, themed bookmarks, stickers, pencils, erasers, a writing journal, and a variety of toy trinkets sponsored by the FCPS Title I Office. Additionally, students were able to select a book and a puzzle from an age-appropriate selection offered by Fauquier FRESH, Cammie Fuller of The Open Book, and Learning Starts Early before driving away. The four prizes for the raffle drawing contained a reusable tote filled with hard cover books, school supplies, a Beanie Baby to serve as a “reading buddy” and an “All About Me” activity book.
Mark Marchinetti, HMP principal, who also appeared in costume at the drive-through Character Parade, commented, “We launched the Read Across America event with our live-streamed Bedtime Stories to get our students excited about reading and wanted to do something in-person for our community that would be safe and fun for our students and their families. We had more than 100 students participate in our Book Character Dress Up Drive-Through Parade and thanks to support from The Open Book, Learning Starts Early and FRESH each student received a book! It was an amazing turnout and it is always great to see students excited about reading.”
By the numbers:
17 nights of virtual Bedtime Stories
105 students participated in the Character Parade and received books and puzzles:
39 K-1 students
19 2nd-3rd graders
23 4th graders and up