ST. PETERSBURG- The Bay Point Elementary School had the usual flow of cars and buses dropping off children for the start of the school day Tuesday. Some parents walked into school with their children while others had a special guest escort into school. A Star Wars Stormtrooper appeared as a part of the school’s annual book fair. This year’s theme- "reading is out of this world".
The school’s library was filled with extra books. Children could pick out books about far away places or close to home subjects like the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s resident dolphin Winter. The book fair helps children build personal home libraries. The school’s PTA provides funds to make sure every child can buy books.
Parent Debbie Spayde said her children get very excited about the book fair.
“The book fair gives them the chance to pick what they enjoy reading. It empowers them that they can buy books. They can get something they enjoy,” she said.
Students enjoyed the variety of books. Fifth-grader Renice said she loves the chapter books and she hoped to get a cookbook.
“I want to know more,” she said.
Encouraging life long reading is one of the goals of reading programs like the book fair.
“The book fair is for the students to know the importance of literacy and they have a choice to read what they like,” said the school’s SAC Chair Erica Shepherd.
Bay Point has a couple of new reading initiatives this school year. During the morning announcements children hear a portion of a chapter book to encourage reading. The school also has a new computer program that pinpoints and strengthens specific reading skills. The program increases fluency and comprehension skills. Children can access the reading program at school and at home through the Internet. Reading is also promoted through individual classroom libraries with an ample supply of books in a variety of genres, said School Principal Delores Milton.
The school’s book fair is open through Friday. Check with the school for daily hours.