The third graders at Eden Elementary School in Pell City learned how things they do can effect others at the 3rd Grade Literacy Night last week.

Hosted by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and TempForce, third graders received a signed copy of Alabama native Andy Andrews' book "The Kid Who Changed the World." AFT also provided books for these readers to take with them to enhance their home libraries.

“We’d love to see it become something annual,” said Rhonda Veazey, former teacher at Eden Elementary who is now the Bookkeeper for Pell City High School athletics and band. “Reading is entertaining, and [Andy Andrews] teaches a life lesson in every book which is fabulously important.”

Veazey, who helped organize the event, stated they wanted to emphasize the importance and fun of reading, especially with the passage of House Bill 388, which requires all third graders to read on grade level or they may be held back.

The bill passed the Alabama House of Representatives and the Senate in May of this year. The bill requires schools to provide summer reading camps to all K-3 students identified with a reading deficiency and beginning in 2021-22, “third-grade students shall demonstrate sufficient reading skills for promotion to fourth grade.” There are exemptions for special-needs students and students with limited English language skills. No student can be held back more than twice because of the legislation.

During Literacy Night, third grades decorated a butterfly that was placed on the wall next to a banner stating, “Be the kid who changes the world,” the title of the book read by TempForce volunteers Ava Lowe and Tiffany Quillin.

Students were also served dinner, received a copy of Andy Andrews’ book, and a choice of another book to take home, sponsored by AFT. TempForce donated funds to purchase copies of “The Kid Who Changed the World,” for the entire Eden third grade class.

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