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'Royal Readers' a fun way to enjoy books

Photo by Dana Pavek/WDC Schools "Royal Reader" Dan Skogen reads a book to very attentive students in Junelle Jackson's kindergarten class on Wednesday.

Prior to the kickoff of February's I Love to Read Month at Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary, Kindergarten teacher Junelle Jackson and her students invite guests to read a book to their class - and the response is astounding. Jackson is booked solid for the entire month of February, sometimes having two guest readers in a day - one in the morning and another in the afternoon.

"The kids know exactly how many days it is before their reader comes to our classroom," said Jackson, who's been coordinating the "Royal Reader" program for the past 14 years in her classroom. "They meet me in the cafeteria in the morning with a huge smile and announce that today is their special reader day!"

On Wednesday, the red carpet was rolled out for local sports director/radio personality, Dan Skogen, as Jackson's special guest. Skogen was christened the "Royal Reader" as he was given a crown, a scepter and purple cape to wear for his royal book reading.

Skogen delighted the children by reading "One-Dog Canoe," by Minnesota author, Mary Casanova. The book is about a girl and her dog's canoe ride that becomes more and more chaotic as large and small animals hop aboard.

After his royal reading duties, Skogen encouraged the kindergartners to "keep reading!"

Jackson said having different people read to her class shows her students that all people read in different and unique ways. It helps them understand the importance and enjoyment of reading and learning to read. Her "Royal Readers" include parents, grandparents, community members and staff. In addition, Kindergarten teacher Mandy Gallant also invites guest readers to her classroom.

Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary celebrates I Love to Read Month with a variety of activities focused on reading for K-6 students. A new reading incentive program kicked off the month called, "Hawkeye's BookWorms," which is being sponsored by the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks minor league baseball team.