PATERSON, NJ-  Even with smart watches, instant cameras and blue-tooth headphones up for grabs as prizes in School 18’s annual Literacy Fair, it was the love of the books, and the enjoyment of completing their projects along with family, that came back as the answer as to what it made it special from the students who participated.

The event, now in its fourth year, was developed by second grade teacher Jennifer Rey as an opportunity for students to “experience an enjoyable reading opportunity and develop a love for reading.” 

Students in every grade read a book of their choosing and then “present” them with multiple display methods. The big day came on January 26 when two students selected by their teachers from each classroom showcased their work in a gallery setting before judges, as well as visiting parents and others.

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”This fair would not have happened without our student’s hard work and parent’s involvement,” said Rey who also went on to thank the volunteer judges and Bridge of Books, a San Francisco based organization, with a New Jersey chapter, committed to making sure children in underserved areas have access to books, that, for the third year, donated over a thousand books, so that each child in the school could take one home.

This year’s judges were Terry Corallo, Executive Director of Information Services; Nicole Brown, Supervisor of Humanities; Cheryl Chadderton, Supervisor of Literacy Instruction; Donna Gilmore, Supervisor of Literacy Instruction; and Bernadette Murray, Supervisor of Special Education Instruction.

A total of nine overall winners were then selected, three each from grades 1-2, 3-5, and 6-8.

This winners of the Literacy Fair, “Reading Under the Stars,” with a special theme of “camping” were:

Grades 1-2

1st Place : Jeremy DeJesus - Grade 2  
2nd Place: Edwin Gutierrez - Grade 1
3rd Place: Christy Gonzalez - Grade 2 

Grades 3-5

1st Place : Nathaniel Munoz - Grade 5
2nd Place: Melanie Murillo- Grade 3
3rd Place: Joseph Santiago - Grade 5

Grades 6-8 

1st Place : Mathius Rodriguez - Grade 8
2nd Place: Ayden Mancebo - Grade 6
3rd Place: Marilyn Aguilar - Grade 8

“This annual Literacy Fair serves as an exemplary model for our school district,” said Acting Superintendent Eileen Shafer. “You can see that these students love to read; and seeing so many parents here to support their children helps to boost a child’s enthusiasm for reading.” 

For Rey, who said seeing the students get so excited about reading is reward enough for the effort that is put in to making the event a success, there’s not time to waste in preparing for the 5th annual in 2019. 

“We are already plotting new ways to make this wonderful learning experience even stronger for next year's students,” she told TAPinto Paterson.