Hudson, Akron schools join for Right to Read Week

Kent Weeklies
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The Hudson Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and First Serve are teaming up to bring together Hudson City Schools and Akron Public Schools to share in this year’s annual Right to Read Week. This experience is for Hudson students grades Pre-K through 8 and for students in grades K-5 at Findley CLC and Harris-Jackson CLC in Akron’s North Hill community.

“We are thrilled to promote the love of books, reading and writing within both school communities by bringing beloved authors for a virtual visit,” says Right to Read co-chair Kris Stoehr. 

Sue Wimer, co-chair of First Serve, looks forward to the collaboration between Akron and Hudson schools. “Using technology makes sharing author visits easier. It allows us to bring a variety of authors to complement students’ reading interests, whether it be fiction or fantasy. We hope that this is the beginning of a rewarding relationship between Hudson and Akron students,” explains Wimer.

For the past 30 years, Hudson PTO has sponsored and successfully hosted an all-school book read titled “Right to Read Week” within the school district. “This fun-filled week centers around the joy of reading and writing, but also has served to mutually engage the entire school (students and teachers alike) to read the same book – truly an awesome experience!” says Right to Read co-chair Lauren Unke.  

This year, due to the pandemic, PTO was inspired to take a slightly different approach. Beginning this spring, students at Evamere and Ellsworth Hill Elementary Schools and their counterparts in Akron will meet authors Troy Cummings, Leslie Helakoski, Kate Messner and Lindsay Ward. Via recorded presentations, these authors will share what it is like to be a writer and read their featured books. 

Students at East Woods Intermediate and Hudson Middle School and the older Akron students will meet authors Sharon Draper, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Natalie Lloyd and Kate Messner. The authors will Zoom with a small group of students from both Hudson and Akron, and these virtual sessions will be recorded and shared with everyone.  All students will enjoy activities centered around these virtual events. 

 “Ultimately, we hope our theme of One World, Many Stories and collaboration will encourage students in Akron’s North Hill and Hudson to realize that reading can bring us together as we share our similarities and celebrate our differences,” explain co-chairs Unke and Stoehr.     

In addition to sharing its Virtual Right to Read Week, PTO enlisted the aid of local organization First Serve to donate books to the 1,200 students in Akron. PTO is looking for contributions from students and the community to fund this endeavor. A large percentage of the Akron students are refugees who are currently learning English as a second language. The hope is to provide each student with a book from one of the featured authors. 

Community members may make a donation by visiting the PTO store at http://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/1lQ0Cn5mErSX3jGJLI9nvz3?domain=hudsonpto.org  or make a monetary donation at the First Service website http://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/y2FiCo2nGQUDPZX7GTzVVq5?domain=joinfirstserve.org .

Pre-order books are on sale now at the PTO store http://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/1lQ0Cn5mErSX3jGJLI9nvz3?domain=hudsonpto.org . Each pre-ordered book will include a bookplate signed by the author and will be delivered to the schools. Hudson City School parents can purchase books for their children as well as donate a book or make a general contribution for the Akron students at the PTO online store. 

For questions regarding Right to Read Week, contact program coordinators Kris Stoehr (krisstoerh@gmail.com) or Lauren Unke (lauren@unkeweb.com).