Northside Elementary ready for "One World, Many Stories" themed "I Love to Read Month"

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

This month, Northside Elementary will be celebrating "I Love to Read Month" with a theme of "One World, Many Stories," where students will learn and be immersed in cultures and books from around the world. 

"I Love to Read Month" was to be held in February, but with students and teachers transitioning back to in-person learning, the celebratory month was pushed back. The push-back also allows the students to take a break for fun activities throughout MCA testing, which will also happen this month for third through fifth graders. 

Each week in the month of April will feature a different part of the world. The first week will be inclusive of African culture, followed by Central America, Asia, and Native American cultures.

"Kids are going to be learning about and reading books from cultures all over the world," said art teacher Lisa Becker.

Each week will hold a "T-Shirt Tuesday," where students and staff will wear a student-designed t-shirt that encapsulates "One World, Many Stories."

The school held a competition last month to see which students' design would wind up on shirts to be worn by teachers and staff.

Becker spearheaded the design behind the competition.

The school-wide competition required each student to draw out a t-shirt design on a piece of paper that best embodies this year's theme. Students were asked in art class to brainstorm what each word in the theme meant to them, and what images best go along with each word.

Students then created their own artwork, and the 30-40 best ideas were voted on by the teachers. Third-grader Allie Winrich was the leading vote-getter and had her design made up on the shirts.

Shortly after, order forms were made up, and around 200 shirts were delivered to the school right before Easter break.

Along with the worldwide themed weeks, each Wednesday will feature a virtual field trip, with students taking virtual field trips to the African safari, Amazon Rainforest, and Tokyo.

Thursday's are cozy up & read days, and lunches at Northside will feature a cultural dish from each of the cultures featured. 

"The multi-cultural books our kids are going to be reading exhibit and value the diversity we have in our school," said Northside Principal Liam Dawson.

The month will also feature a March Madness-styled "Tournament of Books," where kids can vote for their favorite books in the bracket.

"We're just hoping to have as much fun as we can with the circumstances we've been given," said Dawson.

Dawson credits Becker, along with Kristine Friesen, Nicole Meyer, and Jill Stark for being driving forces behind the fun that's to come at Northside in April.

"I just told them to take it and run, and they took it and ran with."