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July 5, 2011 > Reading is fun

Reading is fun

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By Miriam G. Mazliach

We all know the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," but perhaps a modern spin could be put on the expression -"522 books a year help young minds expand."

Students in Christina Monkman's 6th grade class at Oliveira Elementary School in Fremont demonstrated just that, by spending their last year in elementary school reading for the pure joy of it... 522 books worth!

Monkman's mother, Marilyn Singer, has been volunteering in her daughter's classroom for 18 years, leading an extra program she developed, encouraging students to read for fun. Singer, a retired teacher, even designed an activity packet for each book, to be completed by the students to help them enjoy and obtain a fuller understanding of what they've read.

"Like a grandparent, my mom runs the student literacy groups, discussing the books read with groups of six to eight students, three days a week, on a rotating basis," says Monkman. "She's taught them to learn to love to read which makes them better at everything. It's made their writing better and opened the door to different genres of books. I'm a lucky lady."

Singer purchased many of the Newberry award winning books for the classroom, out of her own pocket, because she wanted her students to have enough variety and selection. "I've got an amazing life. It makes me happy," adds Singer.

To mark the culmination of the students' year of "reading for pleasure," Singer and Monkman brought in a large cake to celebrate this special occasion. Oliveira Principal, Linda Anderson stopped by during the festivities to congratulate the students for their tremendous efforts and to sample a delicious slice of cake. She taught many of these students as their third grade classroom teacher. "Thank you, Mrs. Monkman and Mrs. Singer, for continuing the joy of reading in them," said Anderson. "I love that reading is special for every kind of learning."

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