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Charter School students read to community for Literacy Week

BRIGHTON — In honor of this year’s “Celebrate Literacy Week Florida!” from Jan. 23-27, Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School students ventured outside the classroom to read to the Brighton community.

“We don’t do it too much, but we do take the opportunity when we think it is a good, educational, teachable moment where we can share with our community,” Charter School administrative assistant Michele Thomas said.

This year’s Literacy Week theme was “Take the Lead and Read.”

The Charter School’s first-graders kicked off Literacy Week by heading to the Senior Center to share a few literary treats with their grandparents and great-grandparents.

Students took turns reading short stories to the Brighton elders and showing off book illustrations. Page by page, story by story, students captured the elders’ attention.

“It is kind of a win-win for us,” Thomas said. “They (the students) like to come out; the elders love for the kids to come in.”

The Charter School’s kindergarten through eighth-grade reading coach, Pamela Hudson, said she feels it is extremely important for the young students to share what they learn with the elders.

“Our little children just couldn’t stop talking about it on the bus ride home: ‘Are we going to do it again?’ I loved seeing them. It was so fun,” Hudson said. “We’ve opened the door with them (the elders), and we hope we can continue to do that with them more and more.”

Continuing on with Literacy Week activities, the Charter School visited the Brighton Preschool to reach out to the younger children. On Jan. 26, sixth-graders read several stories to the preschoolers, who will join them at the Charter School next year.

The older students brought stuffed animals, along with their stories, to help engage the preschoolers.

Weeks prior to their visit, the sixth-graders received literacy lessons from their teacher.

Research shows that reading to children and creating interactive learning experiences is crucial to a child’s future reading and educational success. The Charter School has continued to keep reading and literacy a primary goal in their curriculum. The school also holds an annual guest reader day.

“Children should be reading and be read to as early as possible” reading coach Hudson said.

Thomas said she feels blessed to be able to demonstrate to the community what their youth learn and show off the progress being made within their Tribe.

“This is not something we would have been able to do if our kids were going to Okeechobee,” Thomas said. “We’re kind of seeing the rewards of our money that we’ve put into this school, and we’re getting to show it off firsthand to the grandparents.”

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