CCA sponsors literary festival

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Big Bird, Elmo, Mickey Mouse, The Cat in the Hat and other cartoon characters welcomed over 600 second graders to Concordia College Alabama Tuesday for the school’s literary festival.

The festival included bouncy houses, the chance to see a special version of The Cat in the Hat play and most importantly, an opportunity to get children excited about reading. Each student left with a book and a backpack with other goodies.

“This is our way of giving back to the community. The school systems around this area afford our students the opportunity to come in and practice teaching in our school systems, so this is our way to give back,” said Tonya Chestnut, the director of the teacher education program at Concordia.

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Students from the Selma City Schools, Wilcox County Schools, Dallas County Schools and Lowndes County School Systems took part in the program, which included six hours of activities on both Concordia campuses. Students were served slushies and popcorn, took part in a kid Zumba dancing contest and had lunch on the school grounds.

“It is very critical for students to have books at home,” Chestnut said. “We know that half of their IQ is established by age 7, and we also know that reading has a large impact on their IQ, so we want to make sure every kid leaves here with a book.”

One of the most unique parts of Tuesday’s festival was the play in the Wright Auditorium. JoAnn Summers, assistant professor of teacher education at Concordia, said she altered the original Cat in the Hat play to include magic tricks from Concordia student Quantisha Battle, who played the role as the cat.

“After that first trick, it gets their attention, so they should be using some of their literacy skills and comprehension skills for viewing as the play continues and wondering what’s going to happen next,” Summers said.

Battle, a junior at the school, has been doing magic tricks since she was about 10 years old. The children in the audience had a good time.

“They have fun and they laugh and go crazy,” Battle said.

Chestnut said International Paper donated a lot of the funding for the event through a grant. The Selma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Delta Chapter of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Delta Pi Landline Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Chi Eta Phi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma and Kappa Alpha Psi also helped with organization and donation.