Riviere Elementary Brings Reading to Life for Students, Families


Riviere Elementary teacher Casey Montclaro dressed as Camilla Cream for a dress up day during Literacy Week. Montclaro organized the special week of events with a team of teachers.

Walking the halls of Riviere Elementary left students and visitors wide-eyed with curiosity recently. On one end of the hall, the Tin Man teaches students a technology infused lesson. A few doors down, Hermione (of Harry Potter fame) has put down her magic wand to lead her class through a grammar game. And in another class, Thing One listens to a room full of “Cats in the Hats” as they read a story.

This was just one day’s worth of fun during Riviere Elementary’s Literacy Week, held September 28 through October 2. The theme on Tuesday was Dress Up. Teachers, students, staff members, and administrators all spent the day as their favorite storybook character.

“It sparks a conversation between the kids and the teachers about books,” said Riviere Elementary Principal John Starr, whose Harry Potter costume included the lightning bolt mark on his forehead and office decorations. “It makes them interested in the books, so therefore it does lead them to reading more.”

Literacy Week was spearheaded by Riviere Elementary teacher Casey Montelaro. She worked with a team of teachers to help bring the week to life, and said the events give students another reason to read a book.

“They were really interested to find new characters to figure out what to wear,” said Montelaro. “And they were interested to pick out new books from the library so that they could find new characters.”

Along with Tuesday’s dress up, the week included a 15 minute period where the entire school literally dropped everything and read on Monday. Students and staff wore pajamas to school on Wednesday, in anticipation of the night’s Pajama Rama literary event for parents. Starr reads a story to every grade level on Thursday, and special guest readers visit the school on Friday.

“When the whole school’s involved, and the principal’s involved, and the teachers, it gets the kids more excited,” said Riviere Elementary teacher Kim Olsen, “because everyone’s participating and everyone’s excited.”

Along with generating more student excitement around reading, teachers also planned events to help parents turn this week’s spark of interest into a lifelong flame. Parents and kids read in classrooms during Wednesday night’s Pajama Rama. The evening also includes time for teachers to share ways to work with their kids using some of the same reading themes covered at school.

“We’re giving them skills that they can now take to the kids,” said Starr, “and lead discussions that are meaningful to the kids at home and extends the knowledge that’s in the classroom.”