PACA Elementary Students Are Wild About Books

Caption: The 5th grade Class visits the library on Book Character Day on Thursday, October 5 for the first dress up day of the month long event. [photo by the Yearbook Staff]

by Francisco Morales (Warrior Post Reporter / São Paulo, Brazil)

São Paulo – PACA elementary students and teachers closed out the third week of their annual reading contest by combining a character dress up day with a library visit from a Brazilian children’s author on Friday, October 20. 

This year’s theme for the Elementary Reading Contest is “Wild about Books” and it has been ongoing for almost a month. It has brought all kinds of activities for elementary students from kindergarten to fifth grade. From dedicated games with parents to class time crafts, students are encouraged to become active readers and create fun memories in the process. 

This year’s elementary reading contest began on Friday, September 29.  Students are given the opportunity to complete reading logs in order to win weekly prizes all the way until the week of October 27.  

The Reading Contest kicked off with a school day where parents joined the Elementary students in a set of themed “bases” spread through the school campus. Eliana Castanho, the Physical Education teacher, monitored a challenge course at the gym, while Wesley Penteado, the music teacher, played the banana piano in the music room, and the school librarian, Vanessa Flurry, provided reading sessions at the library. 

Throughout the extension of the contest, students from all elementary grades set their own weekly reading objectives. Many of the older students can take care of the reading by themselves, but that is not the case for the youngest students who are still learning basic phonics.

The kindergarten students, for example, are helped by their parents in the reading sessions, which, as kindergarten teacher Mrs. Gabriela Freitas this is a positive interaction. 

“It is a great opportunity for getting parents involved with their kid’s learning journey and creating some memories together as a family,” said Freitas.

Along with the individual reading tasks at home, the Reading Contest also included themed activities throughout the month to follow the elementary curriculum during the month of October.  Part of these creative activities were dress-up days at the end of each week.  So far, they have had two book character days and one safari/animal day.

In Lilian Pedrozo’s class, the fifth graders organized themselves to dress up as minions with their teacher dressing up as Scarlet Overkill.  According to fifth grade student Seth Meier, each student was asked to come to school wearing a yellow shirt and blue pants or shorts and their teacher would give them a pair of glasses to complete their outfits.  

Caption: Mr. Wesley Penteado, the music teacher, joins Mrs. Lilian Pedrozo and some of the minions in her fifth grade class. [by Francisco Morales]

Pedrozo said that she really enjoyed dressing up on these special days even if the outfits were not always very comfortable.  She dressed up as Mary Poppins for the first character dress day, but she brought an extra change of clothes for the afternoon hours.

Flurry also experienced the slight discomfort of wearing an outfit that wasn’t entirely comfortable as her first book character costume was a cardboard cut out of the hungry caterpillar.  She could barely see through the eye holes, but she managed to keep the mask on for most of the morning. 

Caption: Vanessa Flurry, one of the school librarians reads a special story to the fifth grade students on Safari/Animal Dress Up Day. [photo by Francisco Morales]

For first grade teacher Isabel Nascimento, dressing up as David Shannon’s “A Bad Case of Stripes,” meant covering her face with striped and sparkling face paint.

With the final week of the reading contest coming next week, teachers and students are preparing for new activities such as an on campus field trip on Monday and a book swap on Tuesday. However, the Reading Contest doesn’t end here: there will be an Animal/Safari dress up day on Friday, October 27 on the half day of school.  The final reading log will be due that day. Students who have completed four weeks of reading logs will receive ice cream treats on the following Wednesday, November 1.  

The ultimate purpose of all these activities is to give the students the opportunity to keep alive a lifelong reading habit.  Hopefully, this is something that can follow them beyond their elementary years and even beyond school.