KES students take part in B.E.A.R

Story and photo by Susi Gibbins
Kaiserslautern Elementary School

Students and teachers at Kaiserslautern Elementary School took part in B.E.A.R. (Be Enthusiastic About Reading) Month in January as a way to foster interest in reading.

The event, organized by KES reading specialist Sheri Thomas, was a fun way to get students and parents excited about doing a little extra reading. During the month, the emphasis on reading was even greater than usual, incorporating the “bear” theme throughout.

For several weeks, students enjoyed a number of bear-related reading activities. Many classes used the opportunity to study and research different kinds of bears, including their characteristics and habitats. The month started with “Wear a Bear Day.” On this day, students and staff wore something that included a bear on it, whether it was a piece of clothing, a hat or a pin. The week followed with “Teddy Bear Day,” where students brought their favorite teddy bears from home into school. Students used their bears for math and a variety of writing activities.

There was also a special day set aside for guest readers to come into the classrooms and read stories to the students. Some classes even invited guest readers throughout the entire month. Many parents volunteered to come into their children’s classrooms to read stories.

Another fun day was “Bear Buddy Day.” Upper level grades paired up with younger classes to work with a “Bear Buddy” on partner reading, writing stories or doing bear-related math problems. Even pre-schoolers were paired up with first and second graders to work on bear projects together. Allowing students of different ages to work together toward a common goal gave them a sense of learning from one another.

A primary grade and an upper grade book swap was also held in January. Students could bring books from home that they were finished reading and trade them for new books. Many students went home with bags of new books to read. To help
parents participate in reading with and to their children, the two long weekends in January were labeled as Family Reading Weekends.

Families were encouraged to use the time together at home to read together, read to each other, visit the base library and talk about books and reading.

The most enjoyable day was the Read-In. Students could wear their pajamas, bring pillows and blankets and cuddle with their favorite teddy bear while spending the day reading. The school library offered time slots when classes could come in and snuggle up anywhere in the library with a good book for some silent reading.

B.E.A.R. month at KES was once again a successful event, and the students had a fantastic time reading with and about their favorite bears.