Woodland Intermediate School kicked off the newest Woodland Reads literacy program by partnering with Home Depot to hold a special opening event featuring games, crafts, and other activities to get the school’s students excited about reading.
Woodland Reads, a teacher-led program introduced by Patti Cutler, a fourth grade teacher at Woodland Intermediate School, increases family togetherness and improves students' reading skills by providing free books for elementary students to read with their families multiple times each school year. The month-long events feature kickoff and culminating after-school events as well as daily competitions to motivate students to read and spend time with their families.
Cutler introduced the Woodland Reads program in 2015 with a single event. Woodland Reads became so popular that Cutler now organizes several separate month-long events every school year. "Developing reading skills at a young age is incredibly important to a student's lifelong learning," she explained. "In addition, studies show that family involvement can dramatically improve student learning, so I wanted to create a program that would address both needs."
Students made their own wood-block calendars by following step-by-step instructions and using basic household tools.
In order to kick off the new book for Woodland Reads, Cutler asked Home Depot to donate 280 wood-block calendar kits so students and their families could make their own calendars after attending the store’s free workshops. “I thought it would be fun for all of our students to take part in a hands-on activity, so I asked our local Home Depot in Longview if they’d be interested,” Cutler explained. “Home Depot went above and beyond with their generosity – sending 280 calendar kits as well as orange aprons and pins for each student and also sending three employees to help out!”
"I thought it would be fun for our students to take part in a hands-on activity," said Patti Cutler, the fourth grade teacher who organizes the Woodland Reads events.
During the event, the staff introduced the students to the featured Woodland Reads book, “Stone Fox” by John Reynolds Gardiner, a story about a young boy named Willy who enters a National Dogsled Race so he can use the prize money to save his family’s farm from tax collectors.
Each family received a free copy of “Stone Fox” in English or Spanish, and will read chapters together every night throughout the month. During class the following day, students answer comprehensive questions to demonstrate their knowledge. The classroom with the most students answering the questions correctly receives a prize each day. "The students love the comprehension question competition every morning," said Cutler. "The classrooms with the most correctly-answered questions receives awards to hang in their class windows to show they won that day."
Woodland Intermediate School greatly appreciates the generosity of Home Depot in helping to make an incredibly popular event.
The kickoff event was a huge hit with so many in attendance that the staff ran out of calendar kits before the end of the event. “The attendance at this event far surpassed our expectations,” said Cutler. “We are thrilled how the Woodland community always supports our schools, and I’m so proud of our amazing team of teachers and staff who put an event like this together.”