Peruvian Park Elementary families recently gathered to take part in literacy activities and listen to Hillcrest High theater students and a local storyteller in an effort to celebrate the arts.
The literacy arts event supports National Family Literacy Month, which focuses on activities that showcase the importance of family literacy programs, said Peruvian Park Parent-Teacher Association President Rebecca Martin.
“We wanted an event where we could bring families together in the school and have a chance to interact with teachers informally,” she said. “We included the arts so families could appreciate the different art forms.”
During the Nov. 6 evening, families could listen to storyteller Chris Jones tell a story to let school children know that everyone can be afraid and that they are not alone. He called on students to take part by beating on drums.
“Stories change people’s lives, and they are meant to be shared,” said Jones, who teaches junior high and high school, but fell into storytelling after taking some of his own eight kids to a storytelling workshop. “This story is to encourage people to reach inside themselves and get the courage so they won’t be afraid to try something.”
Hillcrest High theater students Emma Krantz and Gigi Valentine performed “On My Way” and “Stepsister’s Lament” for students and their families.
“Theater was the first form of literature,” Gigi said. “It’s another form of telling stories.”
Parent Andrea Kaplan, who came with her son, Eli, said that it’s important to have literacy arts nights.
“There’s so much emphasis on video and media, that it’s great to see kids reading and having a love of language,” she said.
Each student who attended the event received a free book, and that was invaluable, fourth-grade teacher Gretchen Roberts said.
“It’s their opportunity to get a book to take home,” she said. “Lots of kids don’t have books at home so this helps get them reading.”
Fourth-grader Maria Manousakis said she had fun looking at the Reflections art exhibit that featured visual art, three-dimensional art and film entries.
“I was trying to guess which ones my classmates entered,” said Maria, who entered a photograph of Barbie dolls holding hands.
In the classrooms, there were literacy-based activities such as Dr. Seuss worksheets and books, finger puppets, Eric Carle art and literature, word searches and other word games.
Third-grade teacher Judy Seiders said that students practiced spelling by playing Boggle in her classroom.
“Spelling is a life skill, and they were competing against each other to see who could find the most words,” she said. “It was a fun night for the families and neighbors to get together.”