Copeland Mystery Reader wants to inspire love of reading

David Broyles

March 18, 2014

SILOAM — Copeland Elementary’s string of literacy events including Read Across America, Battle of the Books, the annual book fair and an upcoming spring story walk were all linked to a “mystery reader” assembly held Monday morning. The bottom line for school officials is making students life long readers.

“This (assembly) is very important,” said Principal Sandra Scott as she noted how bad weather had postponed the originally scheduled event on March 7. “Reading is not all about taking tests. Thing is, what reading is all about is finding adventure, fun and exciting things.”

Students were encouraged to yell out their guesses about the reader following a week of clues hidden in morning announcements. Staff had the last laugh as each guess proved wrong. The reader identified himself as Captain D, a friend of both Captain Hook and Captain Jack Sparrow. He was later unmasked as Technical Services Technician Derwin Woodard.

“The thing I like about reading is I can be anyone I want to be and be anywhere I want to go,” said Woodard. “You (students) can find anything you want to know in a book.” He said this was the first time he had presented his character, complete with costume, in front of an audience. The work he read from was the book “How I became a Pirate” by Melinda Long.

Afterwards Scott said she felt in a time when educators across the nation are paying close attention to assessments that they should not loose sight of the important goal of inspiring a love of reading in students. She praised the work of staffers who volunteered their time and talents for the program.

“It is so important to instill a love of reading in children. It’s one way they can learn important life skills,” Scott said. “We felt it was also good for them to have male role models who are excited about reading.”

Media Coordinator Rebecca Bennett said the activities committee had decided to use a pirate theme with reading activities this year to get more students interested. She said the clues placed in morning announcements worked well with students asking teachers questions to try an figure out who the reader would be.

“I absolutely love my job. The profession of school library media specialist has changed greatly from the school librarians we remember as children,” said Bennett. “It’s no longer just about managing the library books. Now it’s all about instilling a genuine love for reading in our students, collaborating with teachers on lessons that integrate technology and research skills in the classroom, providing opportunities for student projects involving science, technology, engineering, math, and teaching students how to be resourceful, lifelong learners.”

She said the Monday morning program was intended to “ignite a fire” in students to read purely for the joy of reading. Bennett said she believes the number one factor in how well students will do in school is how much and how often they read on their own. Anything we can do to encourage that is time well spent. With all the activities it’s a very exciting month about reading.”

Preparations are under way for “The Snatchabook Story Walk” tentatively slated for March 29 from 11 to 1 p.m. at Pilot Knob Park on the Jomeokee Trail.

David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewDave.