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Annual PARP Weeks Return with Special Guests

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The districtwide annual P.A.R.P (Parents as Reading Partners) week is back for Northport-East Northport elementary students! During this annual event, students are encouraged to read to or with others, such as parents and friends, and log their readings. To encourage reading, schools often invite in guest authors either leading into or during P.A.R.P weeks.  

This year, Norwood Avenue students enjoyed hearing from two local authors with a special connection to the school. Bill Kiley, a retired Suffolk County Deputy Police Chief and a resident of East Northport, met with third and fourth grade students to talk about his book, “Hope and Freckles: Fleeing to a Better Forest.”  At age 70, Kiley decided to write a children’s book for the first time.  Inspired by national and international events, the story uses lead characters of a mother deer and her fawn who are forced to flee from their home forest due to danger and hunger.  Bill uses these anthropomorphic figures to inform young minds of the plight of more than 34 million refugees. A second Hope and Freckles book, addressing refugee’s challenge of assimilation in a new land, will be published this summer.  

Local Northport resident and parent of Norwood Avenue students Valerie Goldstein also visited the school, speaking with students in kindergarten, first and second grades about her book, “Violet’s Victory.”  The book is the story of a young girl who uses forearm crutches, dreaming of being able to participate in a track and field race.  The book is somewhat autobiographical as Valerie Goldstein, who at 17 years of age was the captain of her school cross country and track team, was injured in a motor vehicle accident and now walks with the assistance of forearm crutches.  During her presentation, Valerie showcased dolls and examples of other adaptive equipment so students could better understand disabled peers.  

 A special addition to Norwood Avenue school was also unveiled during the assembly, as Norwood Avenue graduate and current Northport Middle School eighth grader Liam Dwyer returned to present Inchy, the book vending machine.  WhenLiamwas in 5thgrade, he kicked off a schoolwide penny war fundraiser in hopes of one day purchasing the vending machine to support reading at his school. Following years of fundraising, Inchy was finally able to be purchased and unveiledon March 23. Each book costs one token, which students earn by displaying positive character traits, putting forth great effort in all they do, trying something new, being a good friend and performing acts of kindness. 

Over at Fifth Avenue School, author and illustrator Laurie Keller visited students to talk about illustrations and bringing characters to life. Her illustrations span many books including “Potato Pants!,” a story about misunderstandings and forgiveness centered around a potato, and “The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut,” about the adventures of a donut and lessons learned along the way. During her presentation, Laurie also engaged students with an interactive drawing lesson. Each student received a journal book and pencil courtesy of the PTA, and Laurie guided them through bringing characters to life on paper using their imagination.