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Highview Club Encourages Student/Parent Reading

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – At Highview Elementary School's book club, it does not matter how the students read, as long as they pick up a book and become engaged.

Students brought their parents back to school after hours Tuesday for Highview's student-parent book club. The club gives students the opportunity to read at home with their parents and participate in fun activities when the club meets.

"It's a way to encourage students to continue reading," said Highview Principal Gary Mastrangelo. "It's a way to get parents involved and have family involvement. It's a way to encourage the continuation of reading. And it's been a huge success. Kids love it and parents love it."

At its meeting last month, students were given the book "My Name Is Maria Isabel," by Alma Flor Ada. The book is about a new girl in school who deals with the pride of her Puerto Rican name when her teacher asks if she can address her as "Mary" instead of "Maria Isabel."

"There's always a follow up activity that goes with the book, like a crossword puzzle, costume design or writing an additional chapter," said Mastrangelo. "It's usually a fun, interactive activity for the students where the parents sit back and observe the kids working."

As the book club is a second and third grade endeavor, explained Mastrangelo, the books are chosen at a late third-grade level or early fourth-grade level to challenge the students. At home, students can read to their parents or the parent and child can take turns.

"Whatever works for the home environment, that's the way they should read the book," Mastrangelo said.

On Tuesday night, the students received a copy of "The War with Grandpa" by award-winning author Robert Kimmel Smith. The book follows a 10-year-old boy who has to relocate his bedroom when his grandfather moves in. Their "war" is full of jokes and pranks.

"It's all about family," said Mastrangelo. "It's a cute book. I remember reading this one years ago."

The next book club meetings will take place on Dec. 13 and Jan. 31.

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