Friday, October 14, 2011

FRED: Lucky kids and Lucky fathers

Fathers committed to reading to their kids every day! Now there is an action that can help change the world.
Over thirty Dads signed up to part of the F.R.E.D. (Fathers Read Every Day) Program at BOLD Schools (Bird Island-Olivia), Minnesota, and the program was a huge success, thanks to all the fathers and kids who attended and thanks to the staff members who organized it and provided the honest enthusiasm  that seemed to ignite the interests of everyone.

Above, I read my story If I Were a Farmer: Field Work to a group of kids and their dads.
I had the opportunity to read to two separate groups of fathers and their kids during the evening.
 Like the moms, you know these dads work all day (I talked to one father who combined corn during the day) and they are tired. It's after 6:00 PM and the kids have had a long day, as well. Yet here they are  taking some time to sit down together and read.

And obviously, it was along day for the teachers and other staff members, too. Let me return to earlier in the day when Nancy and I arrive to do three shows for the kids in the afternoon on  October 11, 2001.
The first show was If I Were a Farmer:Nancy's Adventure for a great group 
of over 80 students in grades 1-2 .
In the pictures above and below, I demonstrate how to teach  newborn calf how to drink from a pail.

Next, for a group of over 100 fun kids in grades 3-4, I perform my story A Farm Country Halloween, as shown in the three pictures below:

After this show, Nancy and I got to experience a fire drill with the staff and students.
Everyone assembles outside for the head count. The firemen regularly hide a couple of kids to test the accuracy of the staff's head count. This helps make it "real." 

Then we go back into the school to do a show for about 45 kindergarten students, who listen to If I Were a Farmer: Nancy's Adventure, as shown in the pictures below.
Media Specialist Janeen Perrizo, left, stands at the back.

Title 1 leader Bonnie Wertish arranged for me to be at the evening FRED Program, and Media Specialist Janeen Perrizo arranged for me to visit the school during the day. Much to the credit of these two professionals, the enthusiasm of the kids is high, which makes my performances especially fun for me.
Before the evening program ECFE Coordinator Renae Saunders (center) 
and Title 1 leader Bonnie Wertish (right) take a moment from preparation to pose for a photo.
The FRED Program provided a free copy of my book If I Were a Farmer: Fieldwork to each family that attended. I signed the copies in advanced and staff members opened them up on the table so families could claim their books after they eat a lunch served in the cafeteria.

Children and fathers seemed to enjoy the evening.

To close the evening's activities I have the privilege of speaking to the fathers alone while the children are entertained by the staff members in another area.
For the first few minutes I explain how and why I came to write about farm heritage. Then I use the last several minutes to elaborate on the value of reading to children. Reading to children is the one thing that is sure to contribute to their personal and educational success, and the benefits for the reader, too, are enormous. I repeat: Lucky kids! Lucky dads!

Nancy and I want to thank all of the friendly staff and students at BOLD Schools who made us feel so very welcome and whose enthusiasm for reading and for their guest author was inspirational.

 I thank the fathers who attended, especially those who stopped to visit with me and thank me for my efforts.
We especially thank Bonnie Wertish of Title 1 and Media Specialist Janeen Perrizo for arranging my visit and Renae Saunders for all her work on the evening's event. 
We hope to be invited to return to BOLD Schools soon.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

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