With the hard work of all the first-graders and their reading efforts, the animals were able to get back to their normal habitats at the Jackson Zoo today.
Faculty dressed up as zookeepers and animals to put on a closing play and reward students for their reading achievements. With everyone’s help, the zoo was back to normal.
The play was a part of the Parents as Reading Partners program, which began on March 16 with a challenge for students. Faculty put on an opening play showing the zoo animals had gone wild. The animals were eating the wrong foods and living in the wrong places. The zookeepers asked students to help them solve the problem.
To help zoo animals get back to their normal habitat, students were required to read at home for 15 minutes every night. Students had to get a ticket signed by a parent once they completed their reading and return it to school every day.
During the program, the students read a total of 441,000 minutes. For all their effort, they were rewarded with prizes and received a new book to take home at the end of the play.
Heather Landers, first-grade special education teacher, organized the play.
“The program aligned with the curriculum so kids could connect what they were learning in class to the reading,” Landers said. “The kids got excited about reading and loved the play.”
The play was one of many reading incentives students participated in. Other events included a Family Reading Night, Fairytale event and reading with members of the Genesee County Bar Association.
Principal Diane Bonarigo has been thrilled with her students’ reading progress.
“I’m so excited 80 percent of our children are reading at grade level or above,” Bonarigo said. “I have seen the children significantly improve in reading this year.”
Bonarigo hopes children will continue reading and be lifelong learners.