Literary lunch gets books in families’ hands

From left, third-grader Laysha Ramirez-Mendoza looks at her reading award while mom, Prudencia Ramirez, reads to daughter Alexandra, 3

Godfrey Elementary School parents and students recently joined each other for lunch and a celebration of reading, as third-graders each received a new book to bring home.

From left, third-graders Ashley De Cristobal-Martinez and Avery Parmeter look for just the right book

Mom Prudencia Ramirez turned pages with her 3-year-old, Alexandra, while her third-grader, Laysha Ramirez-Mendoza, seemed to glow while looking at her award for “great growth in reading.” Laysha said she was excited to have her mom at school with her, and Ramirez said she was happy to be there.

“I’m excited to see my kid because she got an award in reading. I’m trying my best for every one of my kids in that way.”

The event was the first of three planned lunches this spring for third- through fifth-graders to bring in parents to spend time together and get a new book, funded through federal Title One parent involvement funds, said Jacqueline Wearing, English-language-learner teacher.

Alexandra, 3, checks out her big sister’s new book

“It’s just to share and reiterate the importance of reading at home, and also just getting kids and parents excited about reading together,” Wearing said. “It’s always fun for them to get a new book that they’re interested in.”

Godfrey-Lee is a low-income district with a large Hispanic population. “We want to increase access to books,” Wearing said, noting many families don’t have a lot of them at home.

Books, some in Spanish and some bilingual, were available at various levels and in assorted genres. “We definitely want to encourage reading — no matter what language is spoken at home — and reading in Spanish helps with reading in English,” she said.

Students each received a new book
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2013. Read Erin's full bio

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