D107 Literacy Programs
The purpose of the literacy webpage is to inform parents and students of programs that are available in addition to the core curriculum taught during the regular school day. Literacy activities are highly valued at Pleasantdale and strongly supported by the PTA. Additional information can always be obtained by contacting the elementary or middle school.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LITERACY PROGRAMS
BATTLE OF THE BOOKS
Battle of the Books is a fun, academic-based competition designed to promote a love of reading among students. Fourth grade students volunteer to participate and are put into groups by the facilitator early in the school year. Each student group is responsible for reading and knowing the plots, characters, and settings of the books that will be used as the source for questions in the competition that takes place in May.
BIRTHDAY BOOK CLUB-PTA Sponsored
The Pleasantdale PTA Birthday Book Club is a way to celebrate student birthdays and promote literacy. Joining is simple. A form is sent to each student a month before his or her birthday. Families fill out the form and send in a monetary donation toward the purchase of a book. The student then comes into the library and chooses a book he or she would like to donate by picking it from the elementary wish list. Any donation amount is gratefully accepted. A student may choose any book from the wish list. A Birthday Book Club sticker with the child’s name and the year is placed in the chosen book. When the book arrives, the child who chose the book is the first person to check it out from the library. All Birthday Book club members will have their name and birthday displayed on the school bulletin board and the Friday packet. This program has increased the number of books in our library and it provides a reading incentive for all students.
Book Fairs happen several times during the school year. Selected book companies bring the best selection of books for young readers featuring exclusive titles from leading authors. Students preview books during the school day and parents may come after school to view and purchase books. The book fair encourages students to read while raising funds for school. The proceeds also help supplement classroom libraries.
BREAKFAST WITH BOOKS
Breakfast with Books is a before school activity where kindergarten through fourth grade students are invited to a reading opportunity that involves reading a book and watching a related video while eating a simple “breakfast snack” and taking part in an activity to further the enjoyment and comprehension of the book. Each month a different grade level participates.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (ES) READERS – PTA SPONSORED
ES Readers is a PTA sponsored program that encourages parents and children to read together. Four times during the school year (September, December*, January and March), book titles are selected with guidance from our school librarian. Books are obtained from the library, local book stores, or on-line vendors. Students and parents choose their favorite title(s) from the list to read together. Several weeks later, reading groups facilitated by parent volunteers and Pleasantdale staff convene at the elementary school for a fun evening of discussion, crafts and other activities centered around the books. (*Note: December selections are not discussed as a group. Instead, students are asked to write a book review or “Critics Corner” over the winter break.)
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL OPEN LIBRARY
Open Library is an after school program that promotes reading by allowing kindergarten through fourth grade students additional access time to the library. Students are allowed to check out books and read quietly. There is also additional opportunity to develop library skills, conduct research, work on projects, and use reference materials. Permission slips are handed out once per month to students. The goals of Pleasantdale Elementary School LRC are:
• to cultivate a love of reading
• to provide a broad range of quality and reliable resources for students and faculty
• to ensure that all students become effective users of information
• to encourage all students to become lifelong learners
The LRC serves about 480 students in grades pre-kindergarten through fourth and more than 50 staff members. Holdings include books, reference materials, computer software, magazines, DVDs and videos – over 15,000 items. The LRC is staffed with a library media specialist, and approximately thirty parent volunteers who are on a rotating schedule. Volunteers assist with day-to-day operations. During the past school year, more than 23,300 items were circulated.
JUNIOR GREAT BOOKS
Junior Great Books involves first and second grade students meeting during recess time or after school for interpretive discussion and activities with outstanding literature. The goal is to help all students learn to read for meaning and think critically. Each activity is based on shared inquiry because the search for meaning in a story is a genuine investigation shared by everyone in the discussion, including the adult leader. Written and oral interpretive activities extend this structured search for meaning to every stage of the reading and writing process.
ORTON-GILLINGHAM PARENT NIGHT
Orton-Gillingham Phonics Parent Night is held early in the school year to inform community members of the phonics instruction program used in all early elementary classrooms at the elementary school. First and second grade teachers present information on how the program is taught in the classroom. Information on what parents can do to help at home is presented and handouts are distributed. There is also time for questions from the attendees.
PERK is Principal Enjoys Reading to Kids. Once every week, the principal comes to each homeroom classroom to read to the students.
READ ACROSS AMERICA WEEK – PTA SPONSORED
In conjunction with Dr. Seuss’ birthday, the PTA sponsors a weeklong celebration during the first week in March. Throughout that designated week, various activities are held in honor of Dr. Seuss including parent-led story time in grades kindergarten through two, hands on activities and crafts taken from a favorite book, lunchtime story time with our principal, an illustration contest, and a presentation by a published children’s author and/or illustrator. In addition, all students receive a new book, compliments of our PTA.
READING WITH YOUR CHILD PARENT NIGHT
Reading with Your Child Parent Night is held early in the school year to inform community members of the reading instruction program used in all early elementary classrooms. First and second grade teachers present information on how reading is taught in the classroom. Information on what parents can do to help at home with reading is presented and handouts are distributed. There is also time for questions from the attendees.
SIX FLAGS READ ACROSS AMERICA CHALLENGE
“Six Flags- Read to Succeed Six Hour Reading Club” is an annual reading program sponsored by Weekly Reader Corp. that asks students in grades kindergarten through four to record six hours worth of extracurricular reading over a four week period. Students who complete this reading with parent signature verification will then receive at the end of the school year a free ticket to a Six Flags Great America Theme Park.
Each year students in grades one through four participate in a school-wide spelling competition. Preliminary spelldowns are held in the students' homeroom classes to determine finalists: two participants and one alternate from each classroom. One final-round competition is held for the first and second grade finalists and another for the third and fourth grade finalists. There is one winner for the first and second grade and one winner for the third and fourth grade. Grade level appropriate spelling lists that will be used for the classroom spelldown and final competition are provided to students for study before the competition. Winners are presented a certificate during the awards day ceremony at the end of the school year as well as having their name inscribed on a plaque that hangs in the elementary school lobby.
SUMMER READING CONTRACTS (UNO WITH MR. VANDERCAR)
Summer Reading Contracts is a program where students set goals for reading during the summer break. They complete the Summer Reading Form requirements and turn in their work during the first week of school. Students who complete summer reading goals become part of a monthly raffle. Names are chosen and selected students from each grade level play Uno one day during recess and lunch with the principal.
WRITE STUFF – PTA SPONSORED
The Write Stuff Program is a PTA-sponsored, voluntary creative writing program, currently celebrating its 8th year. Students in grades 1-4 receive a prompt six (6) times during the school year, beginning in the month of September. Kindergarteners receive prompts five (5) times a year, beginning in October. All students are given two (2) weeks after the prompt is distributed in the classroom to complete. Prompts have included current event questions, writing letters to the military, composing a story, or simply answering questions about an upcoming holiday. Artwork is always welcome. Write Stuff submissions are not graded, but they are read by PTA Reading and Literature Committee Members. Compositions and drawings are displayed each week on the PTA Write Stuff bulletin board outside the library, so they can also be read by students, staff, and visiting parents. For each prompt written, a fun token is distributed the following month. Participants are acknowledged in our monthly “Write Stuff Honor Roll” found in the Friday packet and some students are picked to read their essay during lunch in front of their peers. Lastly, students are entered in drawings for raffle prizes as well as pizza parties given throughout the year. The 2009-2010 school calendar lists all prompt distribution and due dates. Prompts are also made available on our school website, www.d107.org
MIDDLE SCHOOL LITERACY PROGRAMS
AFTER SCHOOL OPEN LIBRARY
The library is supervised and open after school on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 3:22-4:30 p.m. Students interested in quiet study are encouraged to use the facilities for computer research, completion of projects, book selection, or finishing homework. Most students attend voluntarily though there may also be some students who attend due to insufficient homework completion. It is a good atmosphere for getting work done. Students are able to access staff members for academic support. Students often discover that getting their homework done before they get home is a good habit to develop.
AUTHOR VISITS AT MIDDLE SCHOOL
The Middle School is lucky to have published authors visit our school each year. Author visits are provided by Anderson’s Book Store as a perk for running two Anderson Book Fairs a year at the Middle School. Prior to an author visiting, students are able to purchase an autographed copy of the author’s current book at a 20% discount. The author conducts a 40 min. presentation to an age appropriate audience about the writing process and publishing process concluded with a question and answer portion. Afterwards, students who have purchased the book get a short one-on-one session with the author where they can speak to them and get their book copies signed.
MIDDLE SCHOOL (MS) READERS-PTA SPONSORED
MS Readers is a program that encourages students to come together with an adult facilitator (faculty or parent volunteer) to discuss books of their choosing. Groups are formed by the students themselves. The groups meet three times a year during their scheduled lunch periods. Books are chosen by the students, under the guidance of our school librarian, and provided to the students by the district. The selections vary from award winning titles to the most recent popular fiction. On discussion day, students gather in the school library to enjoy a lunch provided by the PTA and talk about their titles. Over the last few years, this program has grown in popularity among our middle school students.
MIDDLE SCHOOL BOOK FAIRS
Each year, the PTA sponsors three book fairs at the middle school. The first is a Scholastic book fair and the last two are from Andersons Book Store. These fairs are advertised and students are brought down during their literature classes to purchase or fill out a “wish list.” The wish list allows them time to take the titles home to parents and bring funds back to purchase what they would like. Usually the fairs run for a minimum of three days so students have plenty of opportunity to peruse the selection and make purchases. Every effort is made to coincide a fair with evening events such as Curriculum Night, concerts, and “All About Us” so that parents have an opportunity to visit the fair with their student and purchase items.
PAW PRINTS – PTA SPONSORED
“Paw Prints” is a PTA sponsored voluntary creative writing initiative at the middle school. Students are invited to submit their written work as well as their artistic expressions (graphics, drawings) for publication in the journal. Work submitted for publication must follow the “6+1 Traits of Writing”, which all students have learned. Students are involved as authors, artists, and editors of the journal. All final decisions regarding the content of “Paw Prints” are made by a selection committee composed of students, parents, and faculty. “Paw Prints” is published at the end of the school year and distributed to all middle school students.
Scholastic Bowl is an academic competition in which students answer questions in the categories of math, science, language arts, social studies, fine arts, vocational education, and general information. Scholastic Bowl is played in “matches,” consisting of two teams of five players each. Each player has a buzzer that they use to “buzz-in” when they know the answer. If incorrect, the other team gets a chance to answer the toss-up question. The team with the most points at the end of the match is the winner. Pleasantdale competes with schools from Cook and Du Page counties. Any student who would like to be a member of the Pleasantdale Scholastic Bowl team must:
• be a Pleasantdale student in 5th through 8th grade
• maintain grades of C’s or higher in ALL classes
• attend Scholastic Bowl practice at least once a week starting in December
• attend after-school matches between the end of January and the end of April (match schedule to be determined)
• get permission slips signed by parent prior to away matches allowing them to ride the bus to attend matches at other schools
• consistently meet the expectations outlined in the student Code of Conduct
SUMMER LIBRARY AT ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS
Summer Library is a program where the school libraries are open during the summer break. Families may check out books and use literacy resources. The summer schedule is sent home to families and posted on the district website.