Stone students use snow flakes to fight illiteracy

STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

PERKINSTON, MS (WLOX) – It may be Fall now, but it was snowing at Perkinston Elementary Thursday. Students made snow angels, created snowflakes out of coffee filters, and even sang about playing in the snow.

"Snowflakes, snowflakes, dance around. Snowflakes, snowflakes, touch the ground," sang the children.

There was a reason why every lesson centered around snow. The theme was part of a national campaign called "Jumpstart: Read Across America."

"About 2.5 million children across the world, but especially in America, will read the same book: 'The Snowy Day' by Ezra Jack Keats today," said Kathryn Lewis, who coordinated the program in Stone County. "They're all learning about Peter experiencing the snowy day."

Volunteers shared their passion for reading with more than 600 children at Perkinston Elementary, Stone Elementary, and the First Baptist Preschool. Then they used art, music, and other fun activities to reinforce the literary lesson.

"So the children will actually collage, which is the art technique that Keats uses in the book. It's also vocabulary, so they're learning about the S sound," said Lewis.

"I think it's a wonderful experience for the children, and we have down that anytime you integrate the arts with learning, they remember and enjoy it so much more," said Kindergarten teacher Pam Olson.

Many of the students were pre-schoolers. By getting them excited about words at an early age, the schools hope to put the freeze on illiteracy.

Volunteers from "Friends of the Library in Stone County" and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College worked with the students on their reading projects. Pictures from the day's activities will be posted online and shared with students across America.

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