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Read Across Riverbank Event Declared Month Long Success
Family members and students sat quietly through the Readers Theatre performances on Friday, March 31 as Riverbank Language Academy, Mesa Verde Elementary, and California Avenue students performed in celebration for Read Across Riverbank. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The Riverbank Unified School District’s After School Program hosted a successful month long celebration filled with activities for Read Across Riverbank that ended with a Reader’s Theatre this past Friday at California Avenue Elementary. Riverbank Language Academy, Mesa Verde Elementary and California Avenue Elementary all participated in the theatre production, where students brought stories to life.

After School Program Advisor Bianca Lopez was the master of ceremonies at the Reader’s Theatre and RLA students were first to hit the stage bringing the audience a performance of “Where the Wild Things Are.” Mesa Verde followed with their performance of “The Three Little Pigs” and California Avenue students wrapped up the show with a performance of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” They had more time than expected so California Avenue had a second performance prepared of “The Night Before Christmas.” Students gave each other a round of applause after each performance and would share their thoughts with each other and staff. Although some of the performers were nervous and had a couple of fumbles, all stories were completed with courage and smiles.

Mesa Verde Project ACTION After School Program (ASP) Advisor Angela Bailey-Gabrie explained that there was a lot of participation from students, staff and parents throughout the month for Read Across Riverbank.

“We feel that doing these activities are important to highlight reading in our schools and encourages literacy at school and at home,” said Bailey-Gabrie. “Students are given the opportunity to challenge each other to read more with incentives and encouragement from their peers and adults.

“Modeling reading during our Guest Reader Week can inspire students to want to read because of the connection and experience students have with their guest reader.”

Students volunteered to participate in the Reader’s Theatre and worked closely with their individual ASP leader that helped select the stories and organized daily practices.

“Students really take it seriously and work hard to know their lines and to get into character by using different voices, props and costumes,” added Bailey-Gabrie. “We are really proud of our students because we know how hard it can be to get on stage and read aloud or act in front of an audience. Students really enjoyed watching other school sites perform and they liked the idea of bringing stories to life on stage.”

For the past few years the ASP Leaders have created activities throughout the month of March to engage students in reading. The Books in a Jar Grade Challenge ran from Feb. 27 through March 31 which challenged all grade levels at all school sites within the Riverbank Unified School District to read as many books as possible. Listed are the Books in a Jar final totals: Kindergarteners from Mrs. Cruz’s class at Mesa Verde read a total of 2,060 books, Mrs. Melchor’s class at RLA read 1,653, and Mrs. Piper’s class at California Avenue read 775. The complete book totals read by school sites for the month of March were RLA with 5,421, then Mesa with 4,753 and California Avenue with 3,861. All the winners will receive an ice cream party.

“I think everything went well,” expressed Bailey-Gabrie. “Everything ran pretty smooth at all school sites. We feel that all of our activities are important because they connect and encourage reading in different ways.”