Sheri Samson
Kale Kizer listens to Mary Koscinski explain his gifted book at Schurz Elementary.

The Schurz Elementary School auditorium was busy hosting a literacy night with a hot dog dinner on Wednesday, March 1, as parents and students took to the variety of evening events. Activities included five word and literacy game stations, designed for the students to rotate into. With a fully decorated room of inspiring areas, such as the full-sized kid displays based upon the book of “Flat Stanley” and a section of the paneled wall hosting Paiute words with an English interpretation, it was easy to see the multiply ways in which culture and education came together.

A theme of Dr. Seuss characters was introduced at the five stations, which involved matching words, creating sentences and using a fishing pole to hook words. Teacher Christy Grant provided the creative games, while each teacher hosted their own section. Drawings were done throughout the evening with the students winning new family games.

An active reading program was visible as one wall displayed student’s drawings of the covers from the books they were reading. All ages contributed to the reading wall, as the title asked, “What Are You Reading?”

Cool words was another topic, as students wrote down the new words they read that seemed to stand out. Under the word was the description, along with using the word in a sentence. One card stated, “Scram – Go Away”. The sentence used said, “When I saw kids playing in my yard I said you kids scram and don’t come back” with an explanation mark.

There were school words and vocabulary terms such as prefixes and root words on a large tree formation. The Schurz Elementary School clearly emphasized reading, learning words and enjoying the process.

Each student that participated that evening received a new age-appropriate book, hosted by Mary Koscinski from Mineral County Adult Education. Marked and bagged, Koscinski enjoyed removing the book to explain to each child the type of book and bookmark they were receiving. As one student, Kenny Kizer age ten had received his book entitled, “I Survived Pearl Harbor” from the I Survived book series, his little brother, Kale Kizer, age 5, shyly stepped forward to receive his book. Koscinski welcomed him over, giving him her uninterrupted attention as she pulled out his fun book, “Pete the Cat”. Kizer was soon smiling as he got a new bookmark and was told of the adventures his new book would share.

Principal Domagala shared the importance of involving parents into the literacy program as they provide reading within their homes. He applauded his teachers for making the event a special one, while they continue the emphasis on reading by third grade. “We are combining the Paiute Indian traditions within our reading and language skills, while promoting every student to get a jump on their comprehension skills by reading early. Even I am learning the Paiute language – sometimes making the kids laugh if I pronounce it wrong, but hey, we are all learning together at this school.”