Lately, rampant reading and related activities have been taking place around the school district. One would assume that this is the normal state of affairs in a school district, which, of course, it is. I’m talking about recent activities I have seen that go above and beyond the normal language arts diet.
First, on a recent Saturday, a group of our fourth- to eighth-grade students gathered early in the morning at the Clovis High School Lecture Hall to participate in the Spanish Spelling Bee, open to all, sponsored by the New Mexico Association For Bilingual Education.
Parents came, along with various CMS school staff, serving as judges and in other functions, along with several principals from the schools represented (Sylvia Martinez, Deborah Westbrook, and Jarilyn Butler). Schools represented included La Casita, Lockwood and Zia elementary schools; also, Marshall and Yucca middle schools. The event was a great success.
The results were: 1. Diana Alvarado (La Casita sixth-grader); 2. Leticia Ortega (Marshall eighth-grader); 3. Kevin Rosas (La Casita fifth-grader).
Next stop was the Arts Academy at Bella Vista, one of many schools celebrating “Read Across America Day,” commemorating Dr. Seuss and his contributions to children’s literature. AABV’s goal was to read 1,000 books in one day. The atmosphere was lively and festive; and parents, grandparents, and staff came in and read with children throughout the day. Superintendent Terry Myers was even spotted reading with a student. Results: By the afternoon, the number of books read was NOT 1,000; it was almost 1,800! What an accomplishment for these students!
The last stop was Clovis High School, also participating in the Seuss celebrations. CHS librarian, Jenny Blaylock, described events at CHS.
“I wanted to remind kids of their love of reading. There is not a single student here that has not read a Dr. Seuss book.” This is part of the overall thrust of making the CHS library welcoming for students; an inviting, comfortable place to be.
Blaylock held a book cover contest, with students illustrating their favorite Dr. Seuss book. In addition, staff had joined forces and Jim Peabody, industrial arts teacher, with some of his students, had constructed and painted a large a-frame signboard with face cutouts of the life-size Cat-in-the-Hat, and other characters for students to pose and take pictures with. Too corny for teens? While I was there a constant stream of students were taking pictures with the Seuss characters, laughingly.
Blaylock continued: “There are always students in and out throughout the day; several hundred visitors daily.” The CHS library is open all day, from 7:30 a.m. until well after school. In fact, Mondays through Thursdays, from right after school until 5:30 is the Student Success Center, where any student can come to get help with academics, thanks to CHS teachers.
We definitely have some rampant readers at all grade levels. Looks like we’re heeding Dr. Seuss’ advice: “Be awesome! Be a book nut!”
Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at