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posted: Mon, Apr 17th, 2017
Fourth-grader Matteo Eagleson shops at the book fair

Inspiring kids to read

Moana, the Polynesian princess, might have been most popular this year but Captain Underpants and Wimpy Kid were close behind.

At Tinc Road's spring book fair, a wide assortment of fiction and non-fiction books was available for every grade level and interest. The fair, which was held in the library over an entire week, had a discounted offer of two books for the price of one and the kids took full advantage of the great value.

Also popular this year were books about Minecraft, Shopkins, and Dogman (the part canine and part human crime fighter). "Goosebumps," "Harry Potter," "Dork Diaries," and "Star Wars" titles also were favorites, along with non-fiction books about Guiness World Records, dinosaurs, U.S. presidents, and gems and minerals.

The Tinc Road Parent Teacher Organization sponsored the semiannual book fair with the goal of putting affordable, quality reading material into the hands of students. Parent Tara Randazzo worked with Scholastic Books and coordinated the fair.

Book fair volunteer Christine Lavery helps her son, Shawn, select a book

Persuading their peers to disconnect

Media of all forms can be a distraction and cultivate a lifestyle of inactivity, isolation, and procrastination; even kids know that. So Rebecca Hopler's fourth-graders at Tinc Road Elementary School did something about it.

Using the same techniques that advertisers employ to influence consumers, the students created posters that would persuade their peers to disconnect for a while. Each poster highlighted the benefits of a specific “analog” pastime such as playing soccer, reading, writing poetry, bicycling, dancing, and playing board games. 

The poster was just one component in a cross-curricular project inspired by a short story in the class’ reading textbook. Students read about a family whose members centered their lives around television and what happens when the plug is pulled. Working in teams of five or six, the students then surveyed classmates and family members on which non-media activities they liked best. They graphed the results and wrote reflections on what they had learned. Some of the kids also related a less media-focused life to life in the 1950s – a decade they had learned about earlier in the school year.

As a complement, the content of media was examined, specifically advertisements. An informational article was read that taught strategies that advertisers use to gain attention and influence behavior.

The students combined their knowledge of popular non-media activities and persuasive techniques to put together the posters which culminated the unit. Bright colors, photos and graphics, and exciting action and sensory words to draw the readers' eyes were some of the tools that were used to encourage people to try different alternatives to social media, internet surfing, video games, and t.v.

“I think one of the benefits of this unit is that the kids realized just how much media and advertising they are exposed to every day and the ways being tried to influence them,” said Mrs. Hopler. “It also opened their eyes a bit and made them see how being plugged in constantly can dissuade them from other more-rewarding activities, even something as simple as spending time with their families.”

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Tinc Road School
24 Tinc Road Flanders, NJ 07836
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