MSU students share love of literacy with elementary kids

In an event organized by the MSU chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honors Society in Education, students at Heck-Quaw Elementary School in Belgrade celebrated Leap Day on Monday, Feb. 29 by participating in “Leaping to Into Literacy.” Kappa Delta Pi hosts a Literacy Alive! project every February.

The Literacy Alive! projects are funded through the national Supporting Effective Educator Development Grant Program. These grants are intended to support “national non-profit organizations for projects that are supported by at least moderate evidence to recruit, select and prepare or provide professional enhancement activities for teachers, principals, or both.

According to Kathryn Will-Dubyak, advisor for Kappa Delta Pi at MSU, student officers organized Leaping into Literacy, and over 100 volunteers from MSU helped with the event. Volunteers were drawn from the education department, football team, golf team and rodeo team.

Elementary students participated in literacy games in the cafeteria, including Parts of Speech Twister, Wheel of Words, Rainbow Road, Sight Word Walk and Duck Crossing, a game based on figurative language. Each game was targeted for a specific grade level. One second grade student named Caden described his favorite game, Race for Plurals, where one player runs to get a word, the partner writes the word in its plural form and the partners switch. According to Will-Dubyak, the games were all created by students in a course about language arts methods for elementary teachers.

In addition to literacy games, students could head to the library or to a classroom for “Read to Bobcats,” where they got to pick a book from the shelves and read it to MSU student volunteers. “If I were a little kid and had a chance to read to the football players, I’d be all over it,” said Dylan Lindsley, a student who got involved with Leaping into Literacy through his educational psychology class.

For each literacy game and reading activity, students got points on their “Bobcat Bucks Card,” which could later be used towards buying books at the book fair. According to Will-Dubyak, this helps benefit the school as well because the school earns money from the book fair.

Staff members at Heck-Quaw Elementary were happy to be a part of Leaping into Literacy. “We were so excited when Kathryn Will-Dubyak approached me with the idea,” said Principal Lori Degenhart. She added, “I think any time we can utilize the university is really great.”

According to Librarian Angie Johnson, the students arranged the entire event. “We’re so fortunate that MSU chose us,” she said.

Over the course of the evening, 89 children and 64 parents attended Leaping into Literacy.