Dickinson's Literacy Carnival sparks community unity, boosts student success
Engaging activities and collaborative spirit between area entities at carnival seeks to foster love for reading, empowering students and strengthening family bonds.
DICKINSON — Heart River and Prairie Rose schools in Dickinson are participating in the North Dakota Full-Service Community Schools program. In collaboration with the Central Regional Education Association, the program focuses on student success through family engagement, wellness, early childhood development, and community-based support. The schools have employed Site Coordinators to bridge the gap between the school's needs and community resources, thanks to generous grants.
In January, Sherry Leavitt and Kim Goodall, site coordinators of Heart River and Prairie Rose schools respectively, secured a $10,000 Family Engagement Grant from the Department of Public Instruction. They collaborated with their school principals, Randy Muffley and Nicole Weiler, along with Richard Smith, to bring their vision to life. Together, they organized the "Dive into Books Literacy Carnival."
"Thank you to the Dickinson Public Schools Foundation for approving two mini grants to supply each student with a new reading tote bag; the Bakken BBQ for providing hot dogs, chips, water and juice for all our attendees; the West Dakota Parent and Family Resource Center; the Reading Rodeo, and the Dickinson Public Library for your amazing booths," Kim Goodall, with Dickinson Public Schools, said. "We had numerous volunteers, without whom we would not have been able to host the event. They include the Girl Scouts Troop 86710, the Dickinson Middle School Student Council, Badlands Big Sticks, Gate City Bank, Cornerstone Bank, the River of Life Church, Best Friends Mentoring, Dickinson High School FBLA, and numerous Heart River and Prairie Rose Elementary parents and staff, including Ms. Sanford, the best 'little mermaid' ever."
The carnival aimed to create a fun environment where parents and caregivers actively engaged in literacy-related activities with their children. It received tremendous support from the community and various organizations. The WRCC hosted the carnival on May 6, attracting over 1,050 attendees. Families and students enjoyed games, prizes, a complimentary meal, a bounce house, and the opportunity to choose a new book.
Stacy Kilwein from the West Dakota Parent and Family Resource Center provided guidance on effective read-aloud techniques and shared information about the Gearing Up For programs. The Reading Rodeo, featuring Rhinestone Rhonda (Ronda Kraenzel) and Trot-Along Troy (Troy Kuntz), entertained the audience with spirited dance performances.
According to organizers, the Reading Rodeo was a resounding success, with many pre-owned books finding new homes.
Jade Praus, an advocate for the summer reading program at the Dickinson Area Public Library, promoted the initiative at the carnival. Children signed up for the program and created fingerprint-designed bookmarks at the library's booth.
After exploring the booths and playing games, children were able to choose a new book thanks to grant funding. Volunteers assisted parents and students in selecting books that suited their needs. The event provided an opportunity for everyone to understand the importance of fostering a reading-friendly environment at home.