Hankinson Elementary students got a little taste of the 1950s and a lot of encouragement to pick up some books.
An assembly was held for Hankinson Elementary students on Tuesday, Feb. 16 to kick off reading month, a yearly event typically held between February and March.
“It’s kind of a time when the kids are feeling some winter blues or fatigue and they need a little boost of excitement to keep them reading,” Title One Reading and Math teacher Connie Theede said.
Theede planned and led the assembly and also planned the activities for reading month.
During reading month, students try to accumulate Accelerated Reader (AR) points from quizzes taken on books they’ve finished. As a class, students work to make sure everyone hits their AR goal. Every reading month has a theme. This year’s is the 1950s: Shake, Rattle and Read.
“We try to pick something different each year, we’ve repeated a couple, but we usually try to pick something new and different,” Theede said.
Theede, with the help of student volunteers, gave a brief history lesson in the popular foods, toys and clothes from the time period. Students also got to learn the popular 1950s dance the Hand Jive.
“The kids were great today, they were all dressed up and excited, and the staff was great, they didn’t know they were going to have to Hand Jive with me today, but they’re always good sports,” Theede said.
Students and faculty sported clothing popular back in the 1950s such as leather jackets with white T-shirts and poodle skirts.
Forty-five poodle skirts were handcrafted by Hankinson Elementary Principal Anne Biewer and two volunteers, Fran McGraw and Wendy Pelkey. White T-shirts were given to the boys.
“One way to do that (get students involved) was to take some time out and get these (poodle skirts made). All the little boys had something and all the little girls had something,” she said.
The three worked for around 12 hours putting the 45 skirts together.
“We really encourage it (reading month). We have a library that gets new books as the kids need them and our reading month, since I’ve been here for 22 years, has been four weeks of fun,” Biewer said.
Reading isn’t the only thing students get to do. Events and competitions centered around the 1950s theme will be held throughout the month, such as a hula hoop contest. The hula hoop was one of several toys displayed at the assembly that was invented in the 1950s. Reading month will be concluded with a celebration at the end.
This is the 20th year Hankinson Elementary students have celebrated reading month.
“It brings reading to the forefront again for a good month that they try to put extra time into it,” Theede said.