What has a line of kindergarten students holding cardboard and foil microphones, and sporting feather boas, got to do with literacy?
Answer: They were part of Milltown Elementary School’s Libby Day, along with life size drawings of Libby, Etta and Celery, the principal characters in the story; homemade instruments replicating those played by Libby and her friends in the band they form, ironically and defiantly named The Underachievers; clay models of the same friends; Underachievers band t-shirts (various designs); drawings of scenes and characters from the novel; writing about My Favourite Character; an illustrated rewriting of the story; acrostic poems; and a whole school singing of the Libby Song.
Libby Day, shared by parents and guests, was the culmination of the New Brunswick School’s four month long project, Milltown Elementary Reads Libby’s Got the Beat, which started back in October, when I visited each class to read excerpts from the novel and to sing the Libby Song.
I wrote Libby’s Got the Beat (J. Lorimer 2010) with the underlying thought that the imposition of mass testing was taking the joy and excitement out of school and learning. How pleasant and rewarding – and flattering – then to see that little story about Libby and Etta and Celery’s revolt against provincially imposed tests bring such joy and excitement about books and reading to students at Milltown Elementary School.
Thanks to students and teachers and staff for building a bridge between the world of books and real life.
Oh – and the connection between the cardboard and foil microphones and pink feather boas and literacy?
You have to read, and see, the book to find out.