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savoy School Librarian Maggie Donahue is making reading a more dramatic and engaged activity to promote literacy.
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Donahue wore a corduroy jumper and bear ears and served blueberries and Teddy Bear Grahams to her reading group. She hopes this engages the students and has so far been pleased with the reaction.
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Books Come to Life at Emma Miller Elementary

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The children were encouraged to bring in their bears for the reading of two books about teddy bears.  
SAVOY, Mass. — School Librarian Maggie Donahue is doing something different this year.
Each month, Donahue reads a different collection of books to her students at Emma Miller Memorial Elementary accompanied by some sort of activity to make reading a multisensory activity.
"You know, kids obviously aren't reading as much as they used to, and it's hard when you realize what books have to compete with," she said. "Shiny screens and all that, outdoor activities, and everything." 
Donahue does her part to bring the books to life and this past Monday she dressed in green corduroy overalls and bear ears to match the day's reading selection "Corduroy," about a teddy bear, and "Teddy Bear Picnic."
Donahue served Teddy Grahams and blueberries and before opening one of the books asked each student to introduce the stuffed animal or teddy bear they brought in for the occasion.
She said she hopes reading this way engages the students in different ways. She said at the very least, all of her students were excited about the books.
"I was really surprised so far. I mean preschool and kindergarten students loved it, but my fifth and sixth graders all showed up every one of them had a bear and enraptured in these books," she said. "Sixth grade is middle school, and they were all about it. I think when you get older it's nice to kind of revisit that childhood."
Students were excited about the snacks as well as being able to introduce their teddy bears. One student was happy to be sitting on the floor picnic style for "Teddy Bear Picnic."
She said she drew inspiration from her own childhood. When reading "White Fang" her father lowered the heat in the house and snacked on beef jerky. When reading "The Hobbit," she said he would blow smoke rings to accompany Gandalf's entries.
"My parents read to us all of the time, dramatically and it was always a big thing," Donahue said. "I don't remember ever not loving books or not loving reading, and I read to my son the same way."
She also acknowledges that it isn't always easy for parents to find time to read to their children.
"Parents don't always have the time or energy, and these kids have different sports schedules and housing schedules. I know it can be hard," she said. 
She said she hopes to inspire a love of reading citing author Ty Allen Jackson's "Read or Else" advocacy.
"He says there is a direct correlation between literacy and reading fluency and incarceration. That's bold," she said. "Reading is so important; it's such a gift. These kids can build their imaginations, and it can improve their lives in so many ways."
Donahue said she has books lined up for the next few months including "The Powers of Poppy Pendle" by Natasha Lowe. She said they will hold a witch, bakery-themed day. She said the author also plans to visit the school. 

Tags: emma miller,   reading program,   school library,   

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Annual Savoy Craft and Bake Sale

SAVOY, Mass. — The annual Savoy Craft Fair and Bake Sale will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 at the town fire station, 17 Center Road in Savoy, from 9am-3pm.  
There will be a wide variety of local crafters displaying their creations just in time for holiday shopping. 
In addition, there will be a bake sale. All proceeds of the bake sale will benefit the Hilltown Hose Company.  
Free admission.
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