Niagara schools celebrate National Reading Month

NIAGARA – March is National Reading Month and Niagara Schools is celebrating with a variety of activities aimed at fostering a lifetime love of reading and learning. This year the festivities feature local celebrity authors who read their books to the young students.

March was chosen as the National Reading Month in honor of American Children’s author and cartoonist Dr. Suess (Theodor Geisel), whose birth date is March 2. He is known for his work writing and illustrating more than 60 books.

Niagara Schools has a long history of bringing creative learning experiences to their students. Niagara Schools Assistant Librarian Karen Holt discovered there were several local published authors and was eager to introduce the students to writers who have put their ideas and stories to page. “Reading is important. Our students are important!” emphasized Holt.

Holt indicated that the March 2024 National Reading Month theme is Create & Celebrate a Nation of Diverse Readers, to encourage and motivate people of all ages to read every day. In addition to being the school librarian, Holt is also the President of the Niagara PTO. “Our PTO brought in a featured author from outside the area a couple years ago and he was well received.

However, we think it’s important for our students to see local authors in our schools and on the streets of our community every day,” said Holt. So Holt set out to meet local authors and introduce them to Niagara Schools students.

Local author and illustrator Carol Schultz recently read her book The Story of Journey, The Great Horned Owl to the delight of Niagara first and third graders. Schultz’s book is the true story of an injured owl named Journey who was nursed and nurtured back to health by Wildlife Rehabilitator Phyllis Carlson.

The owl eventually became an educational tool for students of the previous generation but because of age and health, Journey has been retired from In-person learning. That’s when Schultz stepped in to continue the educational experience of Journey by writing and illustrating the book. Now the story of Journey continues to enthrall new generations through Schultz’s book.

Since the real live owl Journey no longer makes appearances, Schultz brings along a puppet owl Journey as an educational aid to her book. The lively students enjoyed the book reading and asked a variety of interesting age appropriate questions. They were inquisitive and hungry for knowledge.

In meeting the students and reading her books to them, Schultz serves as a role model and mentor to future writers. While raising her own three boys, Schultz made of habit of reading to them every night. She attributes the daily reading, as well as that family togetherness time, to her now adult son’s successes. All three of her sons are graduates of Niagara Schools.

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