Going global for literature

Stallings Elementary hosts evening promoting reading, global learning

by Josh Whitener

The recent Read Around the World event at Stallings Elementary School combined two important topics at the campus: reading and global understanding. The event included the Aloha Island Hula Girls teaching a Polynesian hula dance (above), different tables highlighting art from around the world and a puppet show with Blue Moon Puppets focused on a Japanese folk tale. Josh Whitener/UCW photo

STALLINGS – A group of students at Stallings Elementary celebrated a love for literacy and a respect for international cultures last week with Read Around the World, one of two family reading nights the campus hosts.

While families are used to the literacy nights, this is the first time the school has fused global learning with reading.

“We do these family literacy nights, really, to promote the love of reading and the importance of reading at home and reading with your family,” Brooke Kramb, literacy coordinator for Stallings Elementary, said of the March 15 event. “Union County’s focus is globalization, so we just thought we would bring both themes (together).”

Read Around the World kicked off with a tasting of different international foods in the cafeteria. Local restaurants pitched in to help – Italian baked ziti from Mama’s Pizza, Chinese chicken-fried and vegetable rice from Best China 2 and Mexican chips and salsa from Salsa’s.

The evening included two presentations based on the international theme. Stephen Clifford from Blue Moon Puppets of Charlotte told a Japanese folk tale before students showed their stuff with a Polynesian hula dance, thanks to the Aloha Island Hula Girls of Stallings.

“Our goal is to share the spirit of Aloha to them, and to share the culture of Hawaii,” Angella Cook, one of the Aloha Island Hula Girls, said. She was excited about the chance to use her heritage as an educational tool.

Students capped of their evening of reading around the world by visiting different tables with activities from different countries. They painted Chinese characters and letters, folded Japanese origami, constructed Mexican papel picado (pieces of paper cut and perforated to form artwork) and designed and wrote American postcards.

Students also were able to view interactive eBooks from other countries around the world on a projection screen, and each child received a free book from a foreign country at the end of the evening.

“It’s a way to get students excited about reading and literature in the classrooms,” Kramb, the literacy coordinator, said of Read Around the World.

The project is funded by the Bright Ideas grant from North Carolina Cooperative.

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