Family Literacy Day takes on special meaning at East Front

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Police chief Dan Parkinson speaks with children at East Front Public School.

CORNWALL, Ontario - For students at East Front Public School story time Monday took on a special tone.

Guests ranging from Cornwall Police Chief Dan Parkinson to Upper Canada District School Board Director David Thomas taught 220 students the value of literacy as volunteer readers during the 2013 East Front Public School Family Literacy Day. The star readers, including professional boxer Tony Luis and Cornwall firefighter Ian Robertson, used the day to teach students valuable lessons ranging from the importance of safety, to the urgency of chasing your dreams.

The event was held to emphasize the value of reading and where it can take you, said Principal Joe Harty. It was also organized to build connections between the community and East Front, and to encourage families to experience the joy of reading at home.

  “This is a celebration of family literacy,” said Harty on Monday. “For some families, their perspective on literacy is much different (than for others). We want to increase awareness about the importance of reading and get everyone involved.”   The hope is that by showing East Front students key community leaders modeling the relevance of reading, it will encourage parents to read to their children at home, said the principal.   Parkinson read the picture book Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann, which detailed the story of a safety conscious police officer and his police dog Gloria. In the story, few students pay attention to Buckle and his safety tips during his school tours. However, that all changes after he is assigned the K-9 officer to help with the tours. Officer Buckle’s safety seminars suddenly become popular with students.  While he believes it is his work that has suddenly become popular, he doesn’t realize it is actually because Gloria is performing tricks behind his back demonstrating the safety tips. When Buckle finds out about Gloria’s actions, he stops doing the safety seminars with drastic consequences.   Thomas read I Cannot Accept Not Trying, by basketball legend Michael Jordan. The book chronicles Jordan’s childhood and rise to fame and his famous story of not making the high school basketball team. The failure resulted in Jordan adopting his training regimen of 1,000 shots a day. He later made the high school team and then went on to greatness in school and professional basketball. The story demonstrated for Grades 5 and 6 students the value of hard work and chasing your dreams.   In the afternoon, students rotated through different literacy stations set up around the school and enjoyed activities such as writing paragraphs, guided reading and shared reading.

Organizations: East Front Public School, Upper Canada District School Board

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario, Jordan

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