Thing One and Thing Two, the famous Dr. Seuss characters, recently ran through the Fletcher Elementary School audience to the shrieks and laughter of students.
"Thing One and Thing Two are here to help The Grinch learn to read. They are going to whip the Grinch into shape," said Fletcher Elementary School first-grade teacher Chris Emley acting as "Mr. Von Schinker" during a Parents as Reading Partners (PARP) assembly. Thing One and Thing Two put the Grinch through his paces learning vocabulary words and reading sentences all while riding an exercise bike, boxing and doing jumping jacks to the theme of "Rocky".
"Raise your hand if you think The Grinch is ready to be a reader," asked Mr. Emley as every hand went up. "You saw, with hard work and determination, what the Grinch has accomplished and you can do it too! You can all become great readers because reading takes you places. Raise your hand if you read for PARP. Now raise your hand if you will read after PARP." Every hand in the assembly went up to cheers from the students.
Top, The Cat in the Hat (second-grade teacher Teresina Isabella), Thing 1 (physical education teacher Greg Jackson) and Thing 2 (fourth-grade teacher Joey Leone) help The Grinch (third-grade teacher Mike Ekstrom) become a better reader during a PARP assembly. Bottom, Thing 1 (Jackson) gives students a ‘‘high-five’’ for reading during the assembly.
Mr. Emley and fellow teachers playing the parts of the Grinch, Cat in the Hat and Thing One and Two, participated in the third, and final, PARP assembly. The theme of this year's PARP, organized by reading teacher Stephanie David, was "Let's Celebrate Reading with Dr. Seuss." Mr. Emley and fellow first-grade teacher Teresina Isabella created scripts for the three assemblies to encourage the importance of reading.
The teachers developed a story about a grumpy old man, Mr. Von Schinker, who didn't enjoy reading. He knew Dr. Seuss a long time ago and Mr. Von Schinker believes that Dr. Seuss stole the idea for his book "Blue Eggs and Spam." Each assembly, teachers showed Mr. Von Schinker's evolution from a non-reader to a person who loved to read with the help of this friends like Cat in the Hat. As Mr. Von Schinker began to like reading his appearance went from messy and dirty to the finale where he was all cleaned-up to show students how reading can transform a life.
"The assemblies really helped capture student's interest. The PARP results doubled over past years," said Mrs. Isabella. "More classes had over 90 percent PARP participation and our Family Reading Night was packed."
PARP is a statewide program designed to encourage children to read at home with their parents or an adult for 15 minutes each day. Fletcher's two-week program included a "Fox in Socks" day to wear silly socks, a "Be like Horton the Elephant" Day and to do something good for others, Wacky Hair Wednesday, a "There's a Wocket in my Pocket" Day to record their favorite Dr. Seuss quote and a Family Reading Night.
"The assemblies and activities are a fun way to remind students of the importance of reading," said Mr. Emley. "So many students have come up to me after the assemblies, not knowing I was Mr. Von Schinker, and were motivated to read more because they heard this character's story. It helps elementary school students to visualize their success when they see a character have fun and improving in reading."