Literacy celebration planned at Hampton Community Center

Monday, February 17, 2020 | 11:00 PM

Literacy will be celebrated at “Hampton Reads,” coming to the Hampton Community Center on March 5, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

All of Hampton’s school district libraries are joining with the Hampton Community Library to offer the all-inclusive, free event geared for children from kindergarten to 12th grade, according to Poff Elementary Library and Media Specialist Erin Prosser.

It’s being done in conjunction with the nationally celebrated Read Across America held annually on March 2.

Hampton Reads will be held in the community center’s Great Rooms A/B. The event will feature a performance by cartoonist Duane Abel from 6:30 to 7 p.m, according to Prosser.

Guest appearances from favorite children’s literature will be made, including Hampton high school students who are volunteering to dress up for these roles, said Prosser.

There will be games, crafts, hands-on activities and a bake sale.

Prosser invited board members and the public to attend during a literacy-related presentation at the Feb. 10 school board meeting. She and Poff Principal Dr. Colleen Hannagan were there with a group of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders who wanted to share what reading activities they did at school.

Hannagan said their “culture of literacy” is quite evident at Poff as school and staff promote a reading-friendly environment throughout the school day, not just during class. The school has a “Book Buddies” program where older students read to kindergartners. Suggested reading materials are always on display for students. And silent 15- and 20-minute reading periods are held during the school day, said Hannagan.

Students presenting at the meeting commented on the benefits of an accelerated reader program and a little free library, which allows students to trade one of their own books, with one in the small, box-sized library.

The fifth-graders also shared that they recently read the book “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio and how it positively impacted them.

Hannagan commented that the library is always busy, especially before the school day begins.

One student Jacob Gehringer, who is a fourth-grader, is one of those students who can be found spending his extra time at the library.

“I help Ms. Prosser each morning at the library helping by sharpening pencils … and giving erasers to pencils that do not have erasers. It’s a great way to help others,” said Gehringer.

Prosser said their students checked out more than 14,000 books over the year. She thanked the school board for the support for all the district libraries.

She said kids really enjoy coming to the library during class and outside of class and she often sees older students helping younger ones. It’s a “positive educational” atmosphere.

“It’s a happy busy environment,” she said.

Dr. Michael Loughead, superintendent at Hampton, said parents play a part in promoting books and reading.

“Literacy starts at home and we thank you for all you do and your efforts to promote literacy,” he said.