Families stretch their creative writing skills
River Grove, 04/19/12--Angela Sammauro holds her son Ethan Dugo, 6, as he reads a story in the library. River Grove School hosted Family Literacy Night Thursday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 27, 2012 8:10AM
An only child, Rosa Sola desperately wanted a sister or brother. But when her mother became pregnant, things did not turn out exactly as Rosa had in mind.
Author Carmela Martino shared Rosa’s story with River Grove parents and children during Family Literacy Fair last week.
In talking about her book, “Rosa Sola,” Martino hoped to inspire young readers and writers at River Grove School.
Reading and word activities were among the activities. Promoting parental involvement is also encouraged during the event.
“It’s our way of reaching out to the community and get them involved,” said Mary Chamberlain, Title One reading teacher at the school and one of the organizers of the event. Last year they had over 200 people in attendance. This year’s turnout was just as good.
Earlier this month students learned about writing poetry from Martino. She was in attendance at the event.
“She did some poetry writing workshops,” Chamberlain said. “She told the kids about herself, told them about the books she is writing and the book she wrote.”
Chamberlain said Martino’s presence adds to the event.
“It’s our biggest one (fair) because we have our visiting author,” she said. “She showed the parents how she worked with the kids on the poems and did workshops with them.”
She said prior to the event students learned mostly about the “list poem” style of writing poetry. A list poem is one of the easiest kinds of poems to write because it doesn’t require either rhythm or rhyme, but has a pattern to it.
At the end of the evening every family received a Poetry Packet. The packet includes a poem written by one of the school’s upper grade students and shows how the parents and their child can work together to create their own poem.
Once they write their poem, the student can bring it back to school and it will be placed on the school’s “Poet Tree.”
The whole process extends the love of reading from the classroom to the home.
“It allows for family time,” she said. “It sets aside time for kids and parents to do something together.”
“That’s the kind of thing that promotes reading,” she said. “Reading is something we want kids to do all of the time.”
She said recently a student told her she liked school and says that has an impact that she and others have worked hard to create. She said activities like Family Literacy Fair encourage this.
“This is really something that everybody was a part of,” she said about the planning of the fair. “That’s why this is so successful.”
Chamberlain said PTA was involved as well as eight or nine teachers on their own time, administrators and the school board.
“This is something that people give their time effort and resources and financial backing to do these things,” she said. “I’ve never been with a school that has so many wonderful things going on and allows the kids to explore their different talents.”