By Julie Slama, Sandy Journal
In a change from its usual math and science night, this year Blessed Sacrament Catholic School held its first family literacy night.
“The school has adopted the social justice theme of literacy and the right that everyone has to an education, so it was decided that we would hold a family literacy night to tie in with the social justice theme,” Director of Advancement Sonia West said.
The family literacy night gave students the opportunity to showcase their own manuscripts. All the classes created children’s books, with each grade displaying a different type of binding.
For example, first-graders bound their books with cardboard and two rings, while fourth-graders used paper sacks and other recycled materials for their bindings. Other grades used accordion-style paper, created pop-up books and even used manila envelopes with artifacts or souvenirs stuffed inside to help illustrate the stories.
Children from age 3 to 13 could participate in hands-on activities that night, including writing a headline or a tweet or adding to a continuous realistic fiction or fantasy story with their classmates. There was also a station where students could create a hat for one of their favorite storybook characters, an opportunity for students to write a book review and a story time for older students to read to younger ones.
Throughout the evening, donations were collected for Heifer International. They raised $285, enough money to send a girl to school in Africa.
“The literacy theme for our school came about after reading the stories of Malala Yousafzai and the girls of Nigeria who have been persecuted for wanting an education,” Assistant Principal Marcy Mullholand said. “These young girls are so courageous in standing up against unspeakable acts of violence that would prevent them from obtaining an education. We wanted our students to be aware of the blessing they have in the opportunity to go to school.”
However, the literacy activities aren’t just for one night. The school is pledging the year to literacy and already hosted its first read-a-thon on Jan. 29 and organized an afterschool book club for its 250 students. Blessed Sacrament students are donating books and pillows to children in the Catholic Community Services’ Refugee Program and they also are taking part in the three-week Utah Jazz Reading Initiative.
“Each month of the school year was designated to highlight a different aspect of literacy as a means of reinforcing what we think is the right of each individual to an education. Service projects, social justice awareness and individual growth in reading have all taken place since the beginning of school,” Mullholand said.
It is anticipated that family literacy night will be a biennial event, with the math and science night being held on opposite years.