McDaniel interns create Leap into Literacy night for elementary students

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March 06, 2012

A love of reading and an elementary school’s emphasis on improving literacy inspired three McDaniel student teachers to design Reading Night for Sandymount Elementary students and their families.

The 60 children and their families who attended the Leap into Literacy event at the Finksburg, Md., school had an inside view of writing and illustrating children’s books thanks to the service project created by McDaniel seniors Melissa Borchers of Bel Air, Md., Sarah Boteler of New Market, Md., and Claire Maisel of Eldersburg, Md. The three Psychology majors are minoring in Education and student teaching at Sandymount this semester.

“Kenny’s Amazing Adventures” author Anita Lynn Lee talks with children about finding story ideas at Reading Night at Sandymount Elementary School.

“This event confirmed our idea that incorporating fun aspects into reading and writing would draw student and parent attention while inspiring a love of literature,” says Boteler, adding that she and her fellow interns were thrilled to have published authors and illustrators at the event.

McDaniel School Library program professor and children’s book author Mona Kerby treated the youngsters to a reading of her now-famous book, “Owney, the Mail Pouch Pooch,” and encouraged the children to read for pleasure. The U.S. Postal Service created an Owney stamp in 2011 to celebrate the pup that rode the rails all over North America and steamships around the world guarding the mail in the late 1800s.

Kelli Nash, who illustrated the popular “Olly the Oyster Cleans the Bay” and “Olly’s Treasure” books among others, showed original illustrations and pointed out features within the drawings that help readers to learn more details about the story characters and plot. The interns objective was to show how pictures help readers understand text.

Book author and grandmother to two Sandymount students, Anita Lynn Lee talked to the attendees about where and how writers get their story ideas and encouraged them to try writing about or illustrating a story idea. Lee is the author of “Kenny’s Amazing Adventures,” “The Ghost and Me” and “Princess Lea Lucia,” among others.

Children’s book authors and illustrator at Reading Night are McDaniel professor Mona Kerby, author Anita Lynn Lee and illustrator Kelli Nash.

“It was a fantastic service project,” says Gay Jewell Love, McDaniel Undergrad Elementary Professional Development School liaison. “Our students did an excellent job of realizing their goals of promoting reading for pleasure and making connections in literature between reading, writing and illustrating.”

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