Udderly cool event at NSA

MARQUETTE – “Down on the farm, reading is udderly cool” was the theme this year at North Star Academy’s literacy event held Friday and coordinated by teacher Linda Wagner.

“I’m from Ohio and I grew up on a farm,” Wagner said. “I wanted to be able to bring a little bit of that here.”

The event was created as the culmination of March is Reading Month activities.

Students from developmental kindergarten through fifth grade could stop throughout the day at any of the booths set up in the gymnasium, each with a farm theme. A couple of grades were allowed in the gym at a time, the kids able to choose where they wanted to go.

“Chuckle with a chicken” had students reading riddles to a couple of barnyard chickens, though they had to yet to chuckle with anyone by mid-afternoon. It wasn’t for lack of trying however, as students stayed clustered around the chicken cage, looking for a laugh.

“Converse at the coop” allowed students to grab a number of plastic eggs with words written on paper inside them. The students were to use the words to create sentences, some a littler zanier than others. The finished sentences were then stuck up on the wall in the gym.

The students also got a mid-day snack at the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Services Agency booth run by nutritional educator Rachel Sabin. The booth offered kids a number of different options to make their own trail mix, giving them recipes to follow.

Other booths offered students creative outlets, having them decorate grocery bags with farm-themed messages.

A few were tied directly to food, with one booth set up to look like a garden. Laid out on the floor were a few “dirt rows” with different vegetables and fruits written on brown construction paper. If students couldn’t figure out the word, they could flip the paper over to see a photograph of the food. They also got a little taste of the farm, with different types of food, such as kumquats, available for kids to try.

And of course, the favorite at the school’s literacy event made a triumphant come-back this year – reading by flashlight. Students could grab a book or two and head inside a fort made out of haystacks, where they could read to themselves or others by flashlight.

Wagner said each booth was meant to help get kids fired up about reading and hopefully instill in them a desire to read outside the classroom.

“Reading is for entertainment,” Wagner said. “It’s for education, regular, day-by-day activities. It’s a way of life, like gardening, like farming.”

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.