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South Jordan Journal

Hawthorn Academy’s literacy night inspires generations of readers and writers

Feb 09, 2024 03:13PM ● By Julie Slama

Second grader Kanyon Walker puts together word chunk puzzles during Hawthorn Academy’s literacy night. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Second grader Kanyon Walker was putting two puzzle pieces together to form a word.

“I like solving them,” he said about the literacy puzzle. “I love reading Dog Man books, too. They’re my favorite.”

Kanyon and his peers were at Hawthorn Academy’s literacy night, which had about 20 literacy activities for them to do, as well as ideas for parents to do at home with their children.

“We’re informing parents what we’re doing here at school and giving them tools and activities to reinforce those skills at home,” Beverly Griffith said, Hawthorn Academy’s literacy coordinator over both the South and West Jordan campuses. 

Students rotated through opinion, narrative and informative writing and they practiced their vocabulary in story writing exercises. There were tongue twisters, syllable bingo and charades. 

“They’re learning about six syllable types through a game that uses different candies as examples. There’s the long vowel with a silent e as in ‘Mike and Ikes’ or the open syllables as in ‘Rolos,’” Griffith said.

Students could also make and spin a paper wheel to add word chunks to different starting letters.

Curriculum Director Brittney Garcia gets excited when she sees younger students put together sounds and letters.

“It never gets old to see children learn and how excited they are when they realize they can form words,” she said. “I love this is a family event and they’re doing these activities together.”

Her son, Cameron, was with her.

“Syllable bingo has been my favorite,” said the third grader who likes the “I survived” book series. “There’s a lot of cool things here.”

Sixth grade teacher Kim Leonard was overseeing the mimes and signs station, where students would find the mistakes and correct them, as well as an emoji challenge, where they solved the symbols to name the literary work.

“It’s reading, but in other forms than with words,” she said. “The kids are learning and now, when they figure out the name of a book they don’t know, they’re curious about it.”

In her class, Leonard’s students read as their only homework.

“Afterward, they talk to me about the book and create a book brochure about it,” she said, adding that it includes an introduction, summary, theme and analysis of the book. “Parents have told me in the past that they were concerned about their kids not reading enough. Now, the students are engaged in what they’re doing. The parent feedback now is that they feel their kids are more prepared for middle school.”

She said often when her class does a project, it’s on a topic each student picks.

“If a kid is wanting to write about electric cars, then that kid will research and read about how they became, their benefits and about its safety. The more engaged a student is in the subject, the more the child will read and do a good job,” she said. “I love seeing when they’re curling up with a good book and wanting to learn.” λ