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Tiger Talk: I LOVE to read!

Yes, I really do love to read! Books, magazines, newspapers, websites ... you name it, I love to read anything.

Somehow, more than 50 years ago, my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Gard, instilled a love of the printed word into my heart and soul. I am forever grateful that she opened up a world that fostered success in my career and pleasure in my leisure time.

I also am thankful for my wonderful mother, an avid reader and writer, who modeled for me and also bought dozens of books for me to devour over the years.

I have always been impressed with the commitment to learning to read at Pine River-Backus Elementary School. Our teachers clearly understand the importance of ensuring that our students are literate, not only to be successful in school, but in their careers and later life.

In our K-4 classrooms, we devote 90 minutes to literacy instruction on a daily basis. We monitor student progress weekly through fluency probes to determine if additional reading interventions are needed. Some students may get up to 60 minutes of interventions, along with their core literacy instruction.

We also know that if students are not reading at grade level, it will be difficult for them to do well in math and other subjects. Interventions that we offer are varied including small group instruction with a targeted focus on the PR-B Seven Pillars of Reading: oral language development, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and motivation. (You can find more information on the PR-B Literacy Plan on our elementary webpage.)

The month of February is “I Love to Read” month at Pine River-Backus Elementary School. Through a variety of activities, we focus on the pure joy of reading.

For example, we have a guest reader read from a favorite book over the intercom every morning. Students then fill out a bingo card locating the book title and the reader.

We also hosted a Literacy Luau for students and families last week. A number of our staff volunteered to assist with “Hula-tastic” literacy games and activities including: Reader’s Reef, Apps Island, Creative Cove, Word Surfin’ and Literacy Limbo. Our PTO donated prizes and students also received a coupon for a concession item at the PR-B girls’ basketball game that evening.

However, the students really enjoy our Fun Week with Dr. Seuss that we are celebrating this week. Our dress-up days are: Monday, Solid Color Day, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”; Tuesday, Pajama Day, “The Sleep Book”; Wednesday, Wacky Clothes, “Wacky Wednesday”; Thursday, Fun Footgear, “Fox in Socks” and “The Foot Book”; and Friday is Hat Day in honor of “The Cat in the Hat.”

I’m sure many of our parents remember this week from when they were in elementary school!

We invite everyone who loves reading to join us on Friday, March 1, to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday at our “Read Across America Read-in.” Doors open at 1:30 p.m., and the reading begins at 1:45 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

This is a wonderful opportunity to model the joy of reading to your child. Bring a book or stop by our library to pick one up. We would love to have you join us!

In the meantime, I will continue to read as much as I can. There is always a best seller that is calling my name, or a Pine River Journal on the newsstand where I can find out the latest about our awesome PR-B kids, or a website that shares how warm it is any place other than Minnesota.

Reading ... I LOVE IT!

(Jackie Bruns is principal of Pine River-Backus Elementary School.)