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Students Celebrate Reading With Week Of Words — WOW!

By Jeannie O. Harsha — 

OAKHURST — Students at Oakhurst Elementary School (OES) just completed their annual Week of Words – a celebration of the wonder and magic of reading.  

Local author and illustrator Michael Elsohn Ross kicked off WOW week with an informative assembly about his experience as a writer-illustrator of nearly four dozen books. His newest one, Plantology, is #47! Mr. Ross explained his writing and illustrating process and wowed the students with his quick illustrations.

Another WOW week activity is Geography T-shirt day, where students and staff wear shirts with names of other places and we identify these lands on the atlas.

Character dress up day is always a favorite with students dressing as their favorite book character. Throughout the week students can get “caught-ya reading” tickets from staff members and trade them for a cool bookmark or pencil.

A wonderful book fair is another highlight of WOW week. The fabulous OES Parent-Teacher Club sets up this exciting event in our school library and classrooms take turns visiting and checking out the newest books as well as old favorites.

OES wraps up WOW week with an Open House night. Families are invited to come to their kids’ classrooms and check out their students’ projects.

As a teacher I love WOW week. It has been going on at OES since I started here in 2000. Wondering when it began, I asked around and found out Sandra Luna, a current employee, remembers enjoying it in 1989 when she was a student at OES!

Retired teacher Cher Tompkins reported that our own Carol Cerioni, now school psychologist, was the one who introduced it in the mid-to-late eighties when she was teaching third grade at OES.

Ms. Cerioni recalled that she had attended a teacher’s conference and heard about this new idea and became very excited about it. She brought the concept back to the staff and soon it was an annual occurrence.  

Celebrating reading is certainly an idea that endures.

Photos courtesy of Oakhurst Elementary School

Jeannie O. Harsha is a second grade teacher at OES 

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