Shhhh! Mark Twain Celebrates Literacy Day

Mark Twain students (from left) Jim Smith, Bill Wilson and Steve Johnson read in the gym on Sept. 8, International Literacy Day.
Mark Twain fourth graders (from left) Adrian Sabeh, Carter Bowman and Kevin Ou read in the gym on Sept. 8, International Literacy Day.

By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

All the classrooms at Mark Twain Elementary School suddenly fell silent at 2:15 Tuesday afternoon. No, it wasn’t recess time or early dismissal. For 45 minutes, every student and every teacher in the building quietly read books. Sept. 9 was International Literacy Day.

Mark Twain is one of thousands of schools around the world that celebrate the event, which has been held annually since 1966. It’s organized by the World Literacy Foundation, which states on its website that one in four adults worldwide is illiterate, and “literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning.”

Teaching assistant Jane Doe silently instructs students as they enter the gym for 45 minutes of reading.
Substitute teacher Verna Scott-Barnes silently instructs students as they enter the gym for 45 minutes of reading.

Students were instructed to wear red, blue or green according to their grade level, to support the theme of the Dr. Seuss quote “I can read in red. I can read in blue. I can read in pickle color, too!” The quote is from Suess’s book “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

Students read books of their own choosing. Those in third, fourth and fifth grades read in the gym. Second graders read in the music room. First graders went to other classrooms. Ironically, the only voices in the school could be heard in the library, where librarian Kim Robertson read books aloud to kindergartners.

Students in third, fourth and fifth grades read in the gym.
Students in third, fourth and fifth grades read in the gym.
Thomas Kamau reads in the gym with his daughter, Zoey Mwai-Lopez.
Thomas Kamau reads in the gym with his daughter, Zoey Mwai-Lopez, a fourth grader.
Students get comfortable for the reading time in the gym.
Students get comfortable for the reading time in the gym.
Jim Smith reads about elephants.
Third grader Jesse Lane is interested in elephants.
Bob Jones reads "Mr. Klutz Is Nuts!"
Third grader Zach Pulliam reads “Mr. Klutz Is Nuts!” by Dan Gutman.
First graders read outside near the school's playground.
First graders read outside near the school’s playground.
Bob Olson (left) seems more interested in Jim Smith's book than the one he brought outside to read.
Will Spencer (left) is interested in Luca Goodwin’s book.The boys are in first grade.
Bob Smith (left) and Billy Wilson share a book.
First graders Carter Lanfersieck (left) and Elliot White share a book.
Mark Twain Librarian Kim Robertson reads to both of the school's kindergarten classes.
Mark Twain Librarian Kim Robertson reads to both of the school’s kindergarten classes.
Theresa Bartoni's kindergarten class shows off the bookmarks they decorated.
Theresa Bartoni’s kindergarten class shows off the bookmarks they decorated.

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