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RIF program alive thanks to community

November 6, 2013
By BOB PETCHER (rpetcher@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Reading Is Fundamental program has received a resurgence of sorts at Beach Elementary School, two years after it was cancelled at the federal level.

School Bookkeeper/Information Specialist Linda Gassner, who handled RIF when it was federally funded, has taken it upon herself to keep the program going by purchasing books for the planned Reading is Fundamental day recently. She was reimbursed by community contributions.

"People in the community donated money to keep it going," said Principal Larry Wood. "We do have enough this year, but we'll have to revisit it for next year."

Article Photos

BOB PETCHER
Beach Elementary Bookkeeper Linda Gassner informs a fifth grade class about the Reading Is Fundamental program.

Gassner, with the help of volunteers Miss Dee and Miss Kathy, worked hard to organize the Oct. 25 event and set up camp in the school's Media Center to instruct students with a "How" theme. All day, student from classes visited the center to learn about particular subjects and become interactive in the process of creating.

"The whole point of this is to get kids excited about reading," she said. "With that theme, we are trying to show them if they have questions like how to do something, they can read to find the answers either by reading a book, googling something or go on Pinterest. There are a lot of different ways."

Gassner pointed to a table full of books that fit the theme. She named a few of them -"How Do You Know the Difference Between A Salamander and a Lizard," "How To Draw Dinosaurs," and "How To Make Peanut Butter."

The content of a book entitled "How To Make Slime" was actually used in one of the activities the students participated in -mixing corn starch, water and food coloring to make a solid. Another book, "How To Make A Quilt," showed students the use of a sewing machine and individual fabric squares (with student names on each) to sew a quilt together. A RIF quilt was eventually made for display.

"We gave them a handout sheet with directions on how to make slime and other things, so if they wanted to, they could go home and do some things," said Gassner. "Some of the kids have never seen a sewing machine before."

Mrs. Wood's fifth grade class entered and listened to instructions before separating into group and engaging in the activities. She showed the students which books were of the fifth grade level and asked the students to pick a book and write their name on the inside cover.

"Being fundamental is very basic," Gassner told the class. "You need to know how to read to do all sorts of things. "You need to read signs to drive a car. You need to read directions to bake a cake."

If you would like to help keep the RIF program alive at Beach Elementary, contact school officials at 463-6356 to inquire how to do so.

 
 

 

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