Levittown Celebrates Literacy

Superintendent Tonie McDonald



Welcome back to school. I would like to thank the Levittown Tribune for the opportunity to provide its readers with some of the happenings in our district. Although school has been in recess, we have been working hard to prepare for the upcoming year. Additionally, this summer, the Levittown School District celebrated literacy through their second annual Summer Reading Extravaganza, a unique way of fostering the love of reading through community connections. For the second year in a row, the incoming sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students, faculty and administration of Wisdom Lane and Salk Middle Schools were given the same book to read as a community reading initiative. The 2016 summer book was titled Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. Back in June, students were entertained during a literacy launch where their teachers and principals of each middle school dressed up as characters from the summer reading book to excite and ignite enthusiasm for the program.  At the literacy launch, students were given their copy of the book to take home to begin their summer reading.


Throughout the summer, middle school students were invited to attend Summer Reading Book Discussions at the Levittown Public Library. At the book discussions, students interacted with each other by answering thoughtful, provocative questions concerning the summer book and engaged in hands-on activities that helped bring the novel to life for these middle schoolers. Their creative work will be presented at a READ Showcase to be held in October.
While students enjoyed the book discussion, parents were invited to meet with Nancy Evans, the young adult librarian of the Levittown Public Library, to discuss ways to motivate the adolescent reader. In addition to the book discussions, a dynamic, interactive website was created to encourage and engage students throughout the summer with activities and ideas that connected students to the novel.

This summer, the district expanded the Summer Reading Extravaganza to the elementary schools where the incoming fifth-graders in all of the six elementary schools did a community read using the novel The Kid Who Ran for President by Dan Gutman. Students entering fifth grade were invited to the Levittown Public Library to join in the fun with book discussions, games and hands-on activities. An interactive website was created for the parents and students to use in conjunction with the summer reading book.

At the high school level, students entering ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grades were given the same book to read according to their grade level. Students entering class in the fall will be utilizing the summer reading book as their first unit of study in the English classrooms. Throughout the summer, high school students were invited to share their ideas about their reading by blogging on an interactive website concerning their assigned book.

As Jacqueline Kennedy once said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” It sparks the imagination, opening doors to new worlds and new adventures. Children improve their language development through exposure to additional vocabulary and new concepts. Best of all, connecting with a good book can be like meeting a new friend. It is my hope that through the summer reading program, our children and young adults not only prepared themselves for school this fall, but also enjoyed peering into the rich world of literature.

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Jennifer Fauci is the senior editor of Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group's award-winning special sections and Anton’s local magazines. Her passion for literature, travel and the arts lend to the unique content in her publications. In her time at Anton, she has received first place in the Folio Awards, second place for the NYPA awards and is the recipient of six PCLI awards.


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