It’s official: they can read

Lakeside kindergartners line up at the beginning of the We Are Readers parade route

Remember when you officially became a reader? Kindergartners at Lakeside Elementary do, because their school hosts a parade in their honor to mark the milestone.

For the fourth year, kindergarten teachers Renee Rowan, Hannah Tobin and Shannon Brady and their classroom assistants organized the We Are Readers parade. The hand-slapping, cheer-raising 5-minute route through Lakeside Elementary hallways and along the sidewalk in front of the school celebrates completion of the first Units of Study for Teaching Reading.

Lakeside kindergartner Parker Messina with his storybook selection

“At the end of the unit we feel certain that we have sparked in our kinders a love of reading and a confidence that they absolutely are readers,” Tobin said. “Having the entire school come out of the halls cheering them on supports our youngest readers and shows them that reading is so valued. (The parade) is just magic.”

Second graders Grant Camfferman and Lily Lothschutz were part of the hallway cheering section. Both took part in the parade when they were in kindergarten, wearing headbands with their favorite storybook title and holding those books high.

“I was thinking how happy I was,” Lily said.

“I remember when I read those books when I was in kindergarten,” Grant recalled. 

With a couple grades now under their belts, Lily and Grant’s advice to their younger peers: “It gets challenging,” Lily said. Added Grant: “When you get older it will get easier. Keep practicing.”

Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.

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