CLUTE — Brazosport ISD’s Literacy Nights show young students and their parents how to keep reading once the school day is over, which builds on a foundation they will use throughout their education, Early Literacy Specialist Cindy Baca said.

The purpose of the community events is twofold, because they also show students that reading can be fun, she said.

“We want to have the student engaged in activities … but we also want to show the parents what they can be doing at home,” Baca said.

The literacy night event Thursday evening at The Center for the Arts and Sciences had a read-aloud station with Brazosport ISD police officers, which is an easy example for parents, she said.

“We want to get the children excited about reading,” said Jeanne Howard, a first-grade teacher at Gladys Polk Elementary whose station invited the younger kids to read a word on a beanbag. If the child read the word correctly, they could then toss it into an inflatable dragon.

The older kids had a tougher challenge and were only allowed to throw it in the dragon if they used the beanbag’s word in a sentence.

The event brings the whole family into it, Howard said.

“They go home with some good ideas of how to make it fun at home,” she said.

Wendy Burke, the librarian and media specialist at Madge Griffith Elementary, worked a station where kids could design their own bookmarks.

There were questions for parents on the back of the page markers, which shows there is more to reading than just sitting silently, Burke said.

“I think it’s important to celebrate reading; sometimes reading is such a chore,” Burke said.

But it can be fun, and that enjoyment can be shared with others, she said.

Griffith first-grader Cain Keldie drew a “V” for a valtryek beyblade on his bookmark, he said. Cain’s mother, Crystal Cruz, said that’s a toy he hopes to have in the future.

Cain loves books, she said, which is what brought them out to the literacy night. Cain cited Dog Man books as some of his favorites.

Cain has been reading since he was 4, Cruz said, and they read together every night.

Caylin Compian, a fifth-grader at Clute Intermediate, said fantasy books are her favorite. Though she had just arrived and didn’t feel comfortable saying her favorite activity of the night, she said she liked making her “tentacle squid” out of a paper towel roll, googly eyes and streamers.

The events supports literacy inside and outside of the classroom, which is extremely important for the kindergarten through fourth-grade demographic, Baca said.

If educators and parents don’t build on the foundation now, it becomes more difficult to read on grade level in the future, Baca said.

“Reading is the most important thing,” she said.

The center hosted the literacy night for Clute-area schools after Tuesday’s event at Freeport Riverplace. The last event will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Lake Jackson Civic Center, 333 Highway 332 E.

Maddy McCarty is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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