BENNINGTON — This spring, three more Paddington Bear Award winners have been announced at Molly Stark School, and one final winner of the literacy award for the whole school year will be announced in the coming weeks.
In total, eight students have been awarded for their reading accomplishments in the first year of the award's existence. In October, Dr. Marie-Pierre Huguet, who works as the assistant director for Adult and Continuing Education at the Career Development Center, promised that she would provide a gift bag to one student every month who was nominated by the Molly Stark staff. The gift bags include a copy of the student's favorite book, French cookies, candies, a French notebook, a Paris chocolate medal, a Paddington Bear pen, Paddington Bear snacks and lollipop, a British telephone booth box with English candies, and a Harry Potter pen. The winner also earns the right to carry a Paddington Bear stuffed animal around for the day.
The February winner of the award was fifth-grader Alexis Dorman, from Gail Crowley's class; she was nominated by para-educator Sharon Mears.
"When I first started working with Alexis it was during her reading class," said Mears, "I happened to download the book that they were reading on my kindle so I could follow along. Alexis seemed to not be very interested in the story so I asked her quietly if she wanted to use my Kindle. She was very surprised and quickly gave me her paperback and in return I handed her the Kindle. She had fun making the font larger and finally settled in following the story. My idea had worked! Every day I continued to hand her my kindle. Now it was time to encourage her to raise her hand and read out loud. She was shy at first but finally her hand went up. Mrs. Crowley immediately called on her. When Alexis finished reading, Mrs. Crowley paid her a very nice complement. Alexis' smile couldn't have gotten any bigger! Alexis continues to read out loud whether it's in science class reading about rocks and minerals or sharing a report on why Florence Nightingale would make a great president. In writing class her stories have become alive! Alexis is continuing to work hard on her Lexia reading program. She has passed three levels this year, each time with great excitement!"
"During library," continued Mears, "Alexis always chooses an extra book or two to read to a busy younger student during her free time. It's wonderful to just sit back and see that the younger student is totally engrossed with Alexis's reading fluency and expression! Alexis' reading has truly bloomed this year and she is so deserving of the Paddington Bear Award. My reward comes at the end of each school day when I hear her remind me to make sure I charge the Kindle!"
The March winner was Andrew Morin, a second grader in Valeria Crossley's class.
"Andrew has a strong love for reading books. He has a special spot at home where he goes to get away and read a book he enjoys or a hunting magazine his Pa Pa gave him," said Crossley, "During many free moments and time of independent reading in our classroom he can be found in a bean bag chair or at his desk deeply absorbed into his latest book that he's discovered. Andrew may have a few books going at the same time as he likes to follow along with books that the teacher may be reading. Andrew works very hard in second grade working his way through the books that are on grade level for him."
"Andrew is always excited about coming to the library," said school librarian Alyssa Hoffman, "He loves the Red Clover books that we have been reading in the library and is always eager to participate in the fun activities we do. He checks out library books every week and he always returns his books on time."
Finally, the April winner was fourth-grader Brady Beaudoin, from Donna Stone's class.
"Brady reads a lot," said Stone, "He reads for pleasure and reads to complete his school assignments. He always has a book on his desk to read. Every day the book he is reading is with him. He is now reading 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows' by J. K. Rowling. Brady has all of the Harry Potter books in his personal collection of books. What I notice about Brady when he reads is that he can block out any of the background noise and stay focused on his book. Once the book is open, Brady is totally involved in the story.
"He is a fluent reader and can retell the main idea and details," she continued, "He shares his reading experiences with his friends. I also hear Brady making life connections to his books. When having a book discussion, he will compare and contrast books that he has read. Being an excellent reader helps Brady be a great musician and an awesome ice hockey player. Everything he does involves reading. Brady will borrow books from the library and he also buys books so he can keep them and read again! He has proudly told me about his book collection. Brady sets a good example of a student who loves to read."
This school year, the Paddington award was given to one kindergartner, one first grader, two second graders, one third grader, two fourth graders, and one fifth grader. Hoffman said an overall winner for the entire year is yet to be announced.
Paddington Bear is a children's literary character created by English author Michael Bond. Jnown for his old hat, duffle coat and love of marmalade, the character was first featured in "A Bear Called Paddington," in 1958. Bond got the idea for the book, his first, after finding a stuffed teddy bear near Paddington Station in London, which he purchased as a gift for his wife. Since then, Paddington has been featured in over 20 books, which have been translated into 30 languages and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.