Superheroes and magic encourage kids to read at Shoemaker Elementary

Nick Shepherd • Aug 26, 2017 at 12:00 PM

GATE CITY — Superheroes exist in the pages of comic books and novels. In order to learn about their adventures, children need to posses strong reading skills.

And on Friday morning at Shoemaker Elementary School, students and teachers kicked off the beginning of the school year, and the theme of this year’s reading program, by bringing to life their favorite heroes, which could include every day heroes like police officers or firefighters.

“If we get kids excited about reading when they’re young, it’s something that’s going to continue on and on and on throughout their lives,” said Gina Fuller, the school librarian. “Even though we’re in a society that is technology-based now, you still have to read.”

Fuller said librarians from around Scott County got together over the summer to discuss what would be a good reading program and what was popular at the moment. She said they decided on superheros because all the movies being released are wildly popular.

Batman and Wonder Woman could be spotted among the elementary students, who gathered in the gym. Collin Wood, sporting a Kingsport firefighter shirt, said he enjoys reading “I Survived” books. He said reading is very important to him.

Not only were kids able to dress up as superheroes, but they were also treated to some guest speakers, including Scott County Sheriff John Puckett. But maybe the biggest highlight of the morning was a show put on by Steve Somers from Amazing Teacher.

Somers travels around the East Coast putting on assembly programs for schools. His events are all reading shows and all have a message.

“Today’s message is about discovering the hero in yourself,” he said. “We’re going to celebrate what it means to be a hero. We’re going to talk about being honest, showing respect, encouraging others, obeying the rules and being a good citizen.”

Students were able to watch Somers perform magic tricks and laughed when he used a silly puppet. Shoemaker was not the only school he visited in the county. He was also at Hiltons Elementary, Yuma Elementary and Weber City Elementary.

Somers said reading was very important and is the foundation of all of life and all of learning. He performed his first magic trick after reading a book from the library when he was in first grade.

Fuller said the superhero theme and the show put on by Somers may be just what children need to decide reading is cool.

“Hopefully they will learn that reading is enjoyable,” she said. “We’re talking about superheroes, but in a book you can be anything. You can be any type of superhero; you can go anywhere. They can have all those adventures that most of us aren’t going to have those real adventures in life.”