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SCASDReads Aloud K-12 Family Night

Adding by subtracting was the idea.


At a table in the 极速六合彩 High hallway, children created poetry by blacking out words on photocopied pages from books and musical scores. A few words here, some more there, and suddenly, to the aspiring bards’ delight, impromptu verse emerged.


The literary engineering was part of this year’s rollicking SCASDReads Aloud K-12 Family Night on Feb. 7, a culminating, two-hour festival at the high school organized by the district’s library department to celebrate books and writing. Librarians, already expecting a large turnout, were overjoyed to welcome approximately 1,100 participants.


“We were blown away,” Library Department Coordinator Paije Davis said. “As evident from last night's success, my department of librarians and library paras work extremely hard and collaborate very well together. I am just so proud and appreciative of their hard work and dedication to all students and our profession.”


Helping out were approximately 100 students and administrators, many of whom read stories aloud to appreciative audiences. This year’s SCASDReads Aloud initiative centered on the nurturing power of the read-aloud and its ability to bring a community together, focusing on a mode of reading rather than specific titles as with past campaigns.


“We were especially thankful and overjoyed that so many of you took part in the event,” Davis said in an email to administrators. “Parents came up to me all night long sharing words of gratitude. One of my favorite quotes of the night came from a father, telling me how much he ‘enjoyed seeing the SCASD community come together in the spirit of reading.’ ”


In addition to the story times, the evening included various stations run by community organizations and student groups. At one, students could write letters and color pictures to send to active duty military personnel. Another offered a chance to make pretty bookmarks. 


The Makery hosted the blackout poetry table, which was crowded most of the night.


“A lot of people have a little bit of nerves when it comes to poetry,” said Katie O’Hara-Krebs, The Makery’s co-director of creative writing and a district substitute teacher. “A lot of times, one of the ways my creative writing partner and I introduce folks, especially younger ones, to poetry is using other people’s words. So that’s why we found all of these books that are out of copyright. It can even be music. Then we invite them to read and find words that pop out to them or little phrases, circle them with a pencil, and then use some markers to black out everything else. Out of it comes a poem of their own making. So people who think they can’t write poetry, with just a little bit of help, you can get them to do that.”


As Gray’s Woods fifth-grader Vivian Hartzell finished her poem, O’Hara-Krebs rejoiced in the moment. “Are you going to sign it? Because you’re a poet!” she said to Hartzell. “I love it!”


“Every single person could be using the same page tonight, but no one is going to have the same poem,” O’Hara-Krebs said moments later, reflecting on the special nature of blackout poetry. “Every poem is going to be unique.”


For his part of the event, 极速六合彩 High sophomore Cesar Sawars read two stories from Scaredy Squirrel — in Spanish. He volunteered his trilingual fluency — he also speaks French — after his mother told him about the event.


“Since I know other languages, I just thought it was nice to do it,” he said. “It was pretty fun. I had a decent audience, 10 kids, so that was good.”


By Chris Rosenblum

Photos by Nabil K. Mark

Published Feb. 12, 2024