School children across Bartholomew County were intently listening to stories Friday. While that’s not unusual, something else was: The students — and the adults reading to them — wore clown noses.
Seated before a group of 27 kindergarteners, Amy Wetherald, assistant principal at Southside Elementary, read “The Great Fuzzy Frenzy” by Janet Stevens. It was part of Put Your Nose in a Book Day to celebrate International Literacy Day.
The students’ teacher, Stephanie Knapp, with help from Wetherald, distributed clown noses to students as they took their seats on the floor.
“Children in grades kindergarten through second get a clown nose to take home,” Knapp said. “It’s just something for them to remember the event.”
Donning the squishy, red noses, the students giggled and listened intently as Wetherald, seated in a rocking chair, began to read, “Deep, deep down in their underground town ...”
From 10 to 10:20 a.m., students and community members alike were asked to pause from their daily activities for a few minutes to sit down and read a book.
An annual tradition in area schools, the event is intended to celebrate literacy, while
teaching children about the importance of reading to learn and for pleasure. Community members often are invited into the classroom as guests to read to the children. In Bartholomew County, 24 percent of the students read below their grade level.
Downtown at the kidscommons, a full day’s worth of reading-related events were scheduled.
Stories matching the museum’s themed exhibits were read throughout the day. For example, upstairs in the Kids on the Move display, staff read “Gregory the Terrible Eater” by Mitchell Sharmat, which told the story of a goat who preferred to eat vegetables over tin cans.
Other Put Your Nose in a Book Day activities included two self-guided Nose art projects, where kids could make bookmarks and reading glasses, complete with a nose and mustache, set atop a Popsicle stick.
All day, children visiting the museum were offered a free book to take home, donated by The Columbus Service League. Children could choose from books of all reading levels and titles, from “Song and Dance Man” by Karen Ackerman to Jack London’s “White Fang.”
“Reading is extremely important,” said Anna Barnett, museum manager. “Even for those children who are not old enough to read, we encourage parents to read to them, because reading is fundamental to learning across the board.”
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