By Alisha McDarris
MARTIN COUNTY -- Martin County Schools know that reading skills are vital to lifelong success. That's why educators are pointing their students to the moon, stars and all the space in between with this year's Celebrate Literacy Week.
"Reading Accelerates Success" is this year's theme as Just Read, Florida! aims to show students how literacy skills connect with all kinds of careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
"Reading is an important skill that that our students need not only to be successful in school but in life," said Shannon Blount, coordinator of reading and language arts for Martin County Schools.
In December, Indiantown Middle School and Pinewood Elementary School got a glimpse of what the week would hold when Just Read, Florida! Sent their portable planetarium to the schools.
The excitement will continue on Jan. 13 as all of Martin County Schools bring literacy to the forefront with fun activities and challenges to promote reading and writing.
There will be read-alouds, "book tastings" and writing exercises. Some of the elementary schools will have fun space-themed activities like "Reading rocks so wear cool socks" and "Stars shine at night so dress really bright."
"It's bringing the fun back into reading," Ms. Blount said.
Martin County author Mary Dawson will even be making video appearances to read portions of her locally based historical fiction, "The River Way Home."
"We've got a lot of different things going on," Ms. Blount said.
And she's looking forward to seeing them all his year as she hops from school to school in her first year coordinating the event.
Students across the county will also be participating in the Million Minute Marathon on Monday, a state-wide challenge to get students to read a collective 33 million minutes in one day.
Students will get extra time in class to read for pleasure instead of duty and their reading time will be tallied and sent to headquarters to be added up in hopes of achieving the goal.
One student from Anderson Middle School will even get to take a trip to the Kennedy Space Center on Jan. 16 to be recognized for her outstanding public service announcement video encouraging her peers to read.
Ms. Blount prompts parents to take part in the week, too, by encouraging their children to read for fun and by picking up a book and reading with them.
More information on Celebrate Literacy Week, including tips for parents and photos of the week's events, can be found at www.martinschools.org.