On Saturday, April 9, the Montclair State University Bonner Leader AmeriCorps program hosted Literacy Day for second through fifth grade students from Sussex Avenue, South 17th Street, Dayton Street, and Quitman Street Schools in Newark. The purpose of the program was to promote and celebrate literacy and books through fun activities. The students involved were part of the Suburban Cultural Education Enrichment Program (SCEEP) from Newark public schools, who also meet on a weekly basis with tutors from MSU.
There were eight different literary related activities that groups of students rotated around. The “Acrostic Sentences” was Zaniha’s favorite, where students used their “name and made words that go with it.” Another activity was “Goofy Sentences” where the kids were each given five words with which to create sentences. They were then split up into two teams and whoever used the most words won. “Even the first grader was joining in and making sentences. The [students] definitely woke me up.” – Yodline (Bonner Leader).
The “Word Hunt” activity was a big hit, where the students did crossword puzzles and also “made up a story- whoever held the volleyball added on to the story!” - Students from Sussex Avenue. The “Read Aloud” activity was Tiara’s favorite, where they were read “Rainbow Fish” and “The Big Day.” Other students said they liked “‘Amelia Bedelia’ and ‘Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen.’”
“It went really well, it was interesting to see how the kids got into the stories. Some kids had read the books and some hadn’t.” Popular stories also included “Lily’s Big Day” and “Thundercake.” The instructor would then “ask them questions based on their level to see how they responded.” - Caitlin Darragh (Bonner Leader, ’11) Another one of the activities included bookmaking. The students were asked to write a story and include pictures cut out from magazines. “When they came in they didn’t want to make a book, but at the end they didn’t want to leave.” - Jen G. (Bonner Leader). At the end of the day the students were all given tote bags filled with books, keychain flashlights, and writing utensils.
“Overall it went really well, everyone went with the flow. Hopefully they can build off it next year and continue to host Literacy Day. The kids seemed to have a great experience.” - Suzanne DeMatteo (’11). As the Bonner AmeriCorps Senior Leader and part of her Leadership Development Minor Capstone Internship, Suzanne helped manage much of the event, including organizing all of the volunteers and coordinating the activities.