The good read

Fort Dodge parents read to their first-grade students at St. Edmond Catholic School Friday.

“They have invited their parents to come into the library to read with them,” Beth Biedenfeld, librarian, said. “We, at St. Edmond school, are just very excited about reading and want the kids to be excited, as well.”

Robin Bishop, first-grade teacher, said the idea is a wonderful one.

“I love seeing the parents in here reading with the kids,” Bishop said. “I actually have two of my own that come to school here and loved being able to do this with them.”

The 20 first-grade students in the St. Edmond library each had an adult join them. The parents either read to their students or had to students read to them.

The program has been so successful the past few weeks, Biedenfeld said, the event will be repeated next year.

“Before today we had 140 parents come in,” she said. “Those are people that have taken time out of their day. Some of them took off work, some of them altered their lunch arrangements. Some traveled a distance. We’ve had lots of families that brought in both mom and dad, or grandma came just to spend a few minutes with the kids reading.”

The students, too, enjoyed the day, Biedenfeld said.

“You can tell by the level of excitement,” she said. “Usually in the library we have voice-zero, which means they can’t talk at all. But you can hear the excitement with the kids, and they talk about it for a long time.”

Bishop said it was a pleasure to see her students so excited about reading.

“I’ve seen nothing but smiles and … they’re snuggled in with moms and dads and grandparents,” she said. “I think it’s an amazing thing. Anytime we can get parents involved, it’s a good thing.”

Parent Jessica Knox said she enjoyed reading to her daughter, Ellie, 6.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to come in and see what they do in school. And it’s fun to see her in the middle of the day and get to read with her.”

Knox said she enjoys reading with her child.

“We read a lot at home, and she enjoys reading so I enjoy doing it with her,” she said.

According to Bishop, literacy is important at St. Edmond.

“We encourage that at home, 20 minutes of reading each day. In the classroom, we try to get 60 to 90 minutes of our day where they are interacting by listening to reading, reading their own books,” she said. “That amount of time they spend with their eyes on print is very important.”