Kent Primary Readers Love Literacy and the Library

Where can you experience volcanoes, create monster art, do the limbo, and choose a book to read all at the same time? The Kent Public Library, of course.

Young readers at Kent Primary School recently took a special trip over to the Kent Public Library to learn about all that the library has to offer. Leading up to the trip, as a part of the school’s commitment to literacy, was a building-wide campaign to get all students a library card – an idea several years in the making.

Students get directions on scavenger hunt from librarian

“In 2020, our site-based team had met and decided we were going to do an initiative to get all students library cards,” said Kent Primary School Principal Dan Brown. “We wanted to encourage reading over the summer and to help students learn to love reading.”

Despite having plans all set, the school closures due to COVID-19 in 2020 put a halt to the initiative, and it was not until this spring when the opportunity to continue the plans presented itself again.

The site-based team organized a friendly competition between all the classes in the building to see how many students would get a library card of their very own. Information on how to apply and obtain a card was sent home with students, to be completed with their parents or guardians. In order to be counted in the competition, students had to submit a photo of themselves holding their library card to their teacher. Photos of smiling students proudly displaying their cards lined the walls of the hallways in the building as motivation to others to get their cards.

Approximately 275 students in the building entered the competition by becoming card-carrying patrons of the Kent Public Library. Several classes in the building even boasted 100 percent student participation – an amazing feat.

“The competition gave the students something to work for, and they were so excited about it,” said Brown. “The teachers in the building also embraced the initiative and were even competitive themselves, which was really fun to see.”

The prize, for all students, regardless of whether they obtained a card or not, was a field trip to the Kent Public Library. Each grade had the opportunity to visit the library, just down the road from the school, over the course of several days. The visits were chock full of library information, activities and, of course, fun.

The staff at the Kent Public Library prepared several different fun and educational activity stations for the students. There was a scavenger hunt that helped students learn where to find certain items or information throughout the library. In addition to learning where the different types of books are located, students had to find objects such as a clock, the check-out desk, a librarian and more.

At another station, the students created monster-themed bookmarks with an important job to do – keeping their place in books while they read. It was all giggles and googly eyes as the students got creative with their crafting. Then, it was off to the Friends of the Kent Library book room to learn about the Summer Reading program kicking off later this month. The students were able to pick out one special book to bring home and keep forever. They were even treated to story readings, dance parties and fun games with Kent Public Library’s popular Miss Chris.

“This initiative had an awesome turnout because we have great partners at the Kent Public Library, especially Eric Mahollitz, the Youth Services librarian,” said Brown. “The whole library staff was amazing, and the students felt great about going to the library. Overall, this was a great community effort and a community-building opportunity.”

The Kent Primary team is already looking ahead to next year and discussing the possibilities of expanding the field trip for students to include other town services.