In April, the East Harlem Program Completed it's Fourth Annual Celebration of Read Across America!

And to think they saw it on Mulberry Street….

                For the past four weeks Dreamers in East Harlem have been participating in a series of fun activities honoring Literacy and the life of Dr. Seuss.  This has been the East Harlem Program’s fourth annual celebration of Read Across America, characterized by projects, special events and a whole lot of reading!

                Each year the 60 Dreamers decide on a goal to work towards together and this year the goal was ambitiously set at 1440 points, and Dreamers were given 30 days to reach the summit.  Dreamers could earn points by answering questions about Reading Comprehension and Character Development in a packet or for the first time ever, they could contribute their own projects in the form of games, songs, artwork or stories related to what they were reading about.  So far 80% of the points earned have come from Dreamers’ own creative work!

                In one particularly moving project, fifth grade Dreamers wrote “Who Am I” poems expressing with elegant clarity how they see themselves in the world.  One Dreamer writes, “…I’m scared of dying. I dream to live happily in the future. Sometimes I’m determined of things…”  A boy writes, “…Who loves ice cream, who hates sensitive people, who wants to go to Mexico, who wishes to see his grandparents...”  Finally, another girl writes, “…Who dreams of being famous, who is determined to go to college, who values being healthy, who is proud of my family’s success…”

                In addition to reading responses and projects Dreamers have participated in three special events that have become East Harlem traditions.  Early in March we held our Snuggle Read.  Dreamers brought their own stuffed animals, special pillows and blankets from home and we spilled out into the second floor hallway of PS7 to read together with friends and teachers.  The following week we held our second, wildly popular, Scavenger Hunt.  Dreamers were divided randomly into five groups, each group given a series of riddles.  Solving the riddle gave the location of a task, and in order to complete the Scavenger Hunt teams had to complete all six Dr. Seuss-related tasks.  One favorite station this year involved making green smoothies with the Edible Schoolyard Teachers—not exactly green eggs and ham, but close enough!  Finally, the last week in March Dreamers brought flashlights and staff distributed glow sticks for the Flash Light Read.  Turning off all the lights in the gym and reading by flashlight is a favorite Read Across America event and this year was no different.

                The Dreamers are well on their way to reaching the goal, at current count only 100 points shy.  Looks like their own creativity and hard work will pay off towards a delicious celebration in the very near future!