Who hasn’t ever snuck under the covers with a flashlight to read after being told to go to sleep? There’s just something comforting about being in a secluded spot and getting lost in a book.
That is the concept that all Jackson County elementary schools will offer second and fourth graders beginning in February.
Each school has chosen one Friday in February or March as “Flashlight Friday.” This special time of the day will provide an experience for children and parents to enjoy together.
Sponsored by the county Title I program and Read Aloud West Virginia Jackson County, the adventure will give children a relaxed, fun way to enjoy a good book.
Lori Mahan, a second-grade teacher at Ripley Elementary, sees great potential in this inaugural event.
“We are very excited about our upcoming Flashlight Friday in March,” she said. “The students will be thrilled to share this ‘lights out’ experience with their families. It is a great way to promote the love of reading.”
All the children will be given their own flashlight and, choice of book. At the end of the reading time, they will be able to take both home with them.
Janet McCauley, president of the local Read Aloud program, said that 633 flashlights and books will be purchased.
“Both Title 1 and Read Aloud will be providing the books,” McCauley said. “Walmart has donated gift cards to help buy some of the flashlights and Read Aloud will furnish the rest.”
According to research, the overwhelming use of screen time with phones, tablets, and other devices is adversely affecting students’ brain development. Children need to use their imaginations and discover the world around them.
“That’s what Read Aloud encourages,” McCauley said. “We want children to develop their vocabulary, their understanding of what they’re reading, and just get the joy of losing themselves in a well-written book.”
The fact that these Friday reading events will involve both parents and children is just as important according to McCauley.
“The sharing of this reading time can lead to conversation and developing a stronger bond,” she said. “A flashlight and book have something in common. They both light the way to see new things. This time spent reading together is invaluable.”
Ripley Elementary fourth-grade teacher Mike Knopp agrees with the value of special occasions such as “Flashlight Friday.”
“In my classroom I do a Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) activity which the kids love,” he said. “It’s something different. And that’s what ‘Flashlight Friday’ is – a hook, a way to get comfortable, do something special. Take the magic of reading and make it even more so.”
The scheduled “Flashlight Fridays” are Fairplain Elementary (Feb. 27), Cottageville Elementary (Feb. 27), Evans Elementary (Feb. 28), Gilmore Elementary (Feb. 28), Kenna Elementary (March 6), Henry J. Kiser Elementary (March 6), Ravenswood Grade (March 13), and Ripley Elementary (March 20).
For times and information about Friday events, contact the individual schools.