Principal Kevin Lowe is so impressed with Stephanie Keelin's passion for taking care of Meadow Lands kids that he nominated her for a 2013 Focus Award in the Great Expectations category.

When asked what she would spend a $1000 Foundation grant for, Ms. Keelin chose funding Book Chasers Club. Book Chasers is an after-school program that encourages love of reading in second graders by exploring a multi-facted approach to learning.

steph check

To help with Book Chasers, Mr. Lowe and Ms. Keelin selected teachers Valerie Neville and Beth Ewing to lead Book Chasers Club. These two marvelous ladies truly have a knack for engaging kids in learning. Of course, students read in the club, but they do much, much more. Ms. Neville and Ms. Ewing work with the children to improve vocabulary through experiences such as a taste test when many of the students didn't know what 'bitter' meant.

Show me what 'BITTER' means with your face!!!

On the day I visited MLES to check in on Book Chasers, Guest Chef Vice-Principal Ms. Simpson was cooking one of her Aunt Terri's favorite recipies - Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits! YUM!!!

Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits went along with the current Book Chasers reading project, Chocolate Fever.

sonya cooks
Guest Chef Ms. Simpson whipped up yummy chocolate gravy and biscuits

From Ms. Neville . . .

"The first two weeks we worked with fairy tales, using two different versions of The Three Pigs. We focused on point of view, character traits, and compare/contrast. The students had to select which character they agreed with, make a puppet, and write why they agreed. They followed a recipe to make pigs-in-a-blanket, and crafted their own miniature house designed to keep the wolf out. The group also completed a Venn Diagram, comparing the two versions.

We are now in a novel study, using the book Chocolate Fever, by Robert Kimmel Smith. Throughout the book, we will focus on vocabulary development, comprehension strategies, and character traits (how characters respond to major events and challenges). We introduced the book by making chocolate pudding, and thinking of all the different ways to describe chocolate. Last week we played a vocabulary game, they followed a recipe to make brownies, and read chapters 1 and 2.

Our goal is to help the students learn to love reading! By making connections to their own lives through the various crafts and cooking activities, we hope to develop background knowledge and provide strategies to help comprehend reading material that may be above their independent reading level."

Great things are going on with Focus Awards grants!

If you would like to join the Founders Society, knowing that your donation will provide for a program such as Book Chasers, click to access our secure online giving portal.

Book Chasers - lovin' reading . . .

Book Chasers Club makes us HAPPY!!! Several students have told their friends how much fun Book Chasers is so club numbers are growing!

Foundation grant funds provided by our donors pay for cooking supplies, books and a stipend for Ms. Neville and Ms. Ewing to stay after school one day a week for Book Chasers.