Wearing paper crowns and flourishing sparkly, sequined red capes, “Super Readers” in kindergarten teacher Teri Mello’s class paraded into the West Tisbury School cafeteria for a celebration Friday morning.
Family members and fifth-grade reading buddies from teacher Sue Miller’s class eagerly awaited the eight kindergartners. The “Super Readers” held court at separate tables and demonstrated their dearly earned honors by reading favorite books aloud to their appreciative audiences.
Kristin Perzanowski read “Biscuit Finds a Friend” to her parents, Nellie and David, and three of her four brothers, who also attend West Tisbury School. Patrick, a fifth-grader, also happens to be Kristin’s reading buddy. He and his brothers Steven, grade 7, and Matthew, grade 4, leaned in closely and listened attentively to their soft-spoken little sister. Their older brother Eric is a freshman at the regional high school.
Emmett Athearn read his favorite book, “Bikes.” Although its descriptions about different kinds of motorcycles included challenging words for a beginning reader, he never hesitated or missed one of them. Fifth-graders Kira Bruce, Aksel Cooperrider, and Alexandra Look were his reading buddies.
After reading “The Birthday Cake,” a story about a cake made of six different colored layers, Noah Lawry told his Mom, Melissa, he wouldn’t mind having one of those for his next birthday. Noah’s audience also included his fifth-grade reading buddy Nina Quigley, older brother Harold and friend Ryan Scanlon, both third-graders, and his dad Harold.
After the “Super Readers” demonstrated their skills, the tables were turned, and their families and reading buddies read to them. Everyone also enjoyed an array of tasty snacks furnished by Ms. Mello and parents.
The spread included greens and radishes from the kindergarten plot in West Tisbury School’s garden, picked by the students the day before.
“It’s really nice to have a celebration of something that’s all about hard work,” Ms. Mello said. “Reading, for little kids, is like a mystery. But by this time of the year, they’re saying, hey, I can do it, and it’s a wonderful feeling for them.”
And hard work it is, starting from day one of kindergarten, Ms. Mello added. The students go from learning letters to becoming familiar with their sounds, to developing phonetics skills.
“Progress is really individual, with some at a high level and some still learning letters,” Ms. Mello said. “And that’s just fine. They’ve all worked hard and have done well.”
Parents took time to recognize Ms. Mello’s role, as well. “Thank you for teaching my son to read,” Elizabeth Oliver told her. “You are such a terrific teacher.”
Ms. Mello said she started at West Tisbury School in 1983 as a kindergarten teacher’s assistant and then became a teacher a few years later.
“I’ve been a kindergarten teacher here since I can’t even remember,” she said with a smile.
Victoria Phillips is her teaching assistant.
After the celebration, Ms. Mello asked the kindergartners to write about the experience. Among their comments, she said Kristin noted that, “At the Super Readers my family clapped after all my books. I liked that.”
The kindergarteners met with their reading buddies from Ms. Miller’s class once a week.
Fifth-graders Emma Bunker and Olivia Pate worked with kindergartener Barrett Oliver; Zachary Danz, Louis Neville and Willa Vigneault with Max Suman; Sydney Johnson with Morgan Scanlon; Sophie Devanski with Emilia Felix; and Chloe Loftfield and Madison McBride with Sophie Palmer.
Kindergarten students Ali Marcus and Peyton Jeffers and fifth-graders Jailynn Hill and Nicholas Bonneau were absent from Friday’s festivities.