Blackstone-Millville students reading to 'Raise the Roof'

Blackstone-Millville students reading to 'Raise the Roof'


Valley Breeze Staff Writer

BLACKSTONE - Teachers at a Blackstone elementary school are using a potentially distracting construction project to create a learning opportunity, challenging students to simulate roof tiling by building their own simulated roof made of tiles representing books.

The "Read to Raise the Roof" program kicked off this week at Augustine F. Maloney and John F. Kennedy elementary schools, two adjoining elementary facilities better known as "The Complex."

As construction begins on a new roof for the buildings, students will also begin "raising" their own roof on a colorful poster depiction of the schools. Each time a student at the kindergarten through 5th-grade school reads a book, a new "tile" will be added to the banner.

"I thought it would be interesting to way to encourage reading," said Janice Torvi, a reading specialist and 15-year veteran who helped to organize the project with the help from members of the Blackstone Elementary Parents Organization.

John and Kristen Marino of NHS Print in Frankin donated the banners for the program, where teachers will place a colorful tile every time a student returns a slip verifying that they've completed a book. Slips were sent home to parents this week along with a letter explaining the project.

"It's giving them a concept of how the roof is being built too: piece by piece, and it gives some competition to our construction workers," said Torvi, who was aided in her efforts by colleague Susan Day, another teacher at the complex.

The banners will hang in the cafeterias of both schools throughout the read-a-thon, and children in all six grade levels are expected to participate, with the younger students getting help from their parents.

Construction on the roof is expected to take around 10 weeks, and contractors will work on four to six classrooms at a time in three-day intervals. During construction, the students will be moved to another room.

Members of BEPO also donating incentives for the project, including imitation hardhats for the younger students worn at Tuesday's kickoff event and "Read to Raise the Roof" bracelets for the older kids.

"It's certainly a community effort," said Torvi. "The kids are getting excited, the teachers are excited, and so are the parents."

Contractors may want to keep a wary eye on the virtual roof as the determined student body gives them a little competition. "Maybe we can finish our roof before the construction workers," Torvi said.