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Draper Journal

Summit Academy Celebrates Reading, Writing At Literacy Night

Feb 20, 2015 01:51PM ● By Julie Slama

“Grandma Gertie” reads to students during Summit Academy’s literacy night Jan 16.

Hundreds of Summit Academy students and families embraced reading and writing at their sixth annual literacy night, which featured a visit from children’s author Kristyn Crow and included several workshops.

The recent literacy night was part of a three-week reading emphasis at the school, which also included a writing contest.  Student winners were honored that evening.

“Our theme is ‘I can be the one who…’ and in a writing contest, we asked them how they could make the world better,” literacy facilitator Colli Lucas said.  “With reading, we’re encouraging each grade to meet a goal for three weeks and learn how they can be the one who changes the world through reading.”

The literacy night’s workshops began before the main speakers and included “Grandma Gertie’s” storytime, making bookmarks, literacy bingo, a book walk similar to a cake walk and other activities.

At the bookmark station, Mark Boyson was there with his preschooler, Ella who was placing foam letters to spell her name on the bookmark.

“We read to our kids, and they read to us,” he said.  “It’s important that kids read as they’re growing up so they’re always learning.  It’s a great bonding time for us.”

Student Parent Organization President Mickie Rhoads said that every year the school promotes a night for reading and writing so kids will have a love for them.

“They are the building blocks for their future in school, whether it’s spelling or math, and it’s necessary in every career in their future.  The kids get all geared up and excited for literacy night and it’s a lot of fun,” she said.

Author Kristyn Crow was the highlight of the evening with readings from “Zombelina” and from “Skeleton Cat,” which included about 30 student helpers.  She walked students through how a book gets published from idea to finished work.

“Ideas come from everywhere,” she said.  “I used the creek behind my grandparents’ house where we would catch crayfish and instead made up a monster in the trees, and it became the idea for ‘Bedtime at the Swamp.’  My daughter was 3 when she was carrying this big cat around, and we don’t own a cat.  And it gave me an idea to write a story about a fat cat. Then I changed it to a skinny cat that could fit between fence slots, and that’s where the idea for ‘Skeleton Cat’ came from.”

She also demystified preconceived thoughts about authors’ lives.

“Some people think authors live in palaces far away because I know that’s what I thought. But I’m a mom of seven kids, and I do the dishes and do what moms do.  Writers can work in their pajamas, but it can be isolated.  I’ve never met my editor,” she said.

Crow said she hoped she inspired students that evening.

“I dreamt of being an author at age 5, and you can be one, too,” she told them.  “No matter what you grow up to be, you can be an author too.  If you’re a chef, a scientist or whatever you choose, people will want to read what you write.  If you know something, you can write about it.”

A representative for Richard Paul Evans, Garrett Despain, spoke to students about Evans’ “Michael Vey” book series.

Despain said that Evans is his hero since Evans writes about his own neurological disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, in the books to educate others.

Tourette’s syndrome is an inherited disorder of the nervous system, with common symptoms including unwanted movements and noises called tics.

“Richard Paul Evans wanted you to learn about Tourette’s so you will understand it and not make fun of anyone with it,” Despain said.  “He wants to change the world and fight bullies, and he is doing this through writing books and you’re doing this by reading them.”