LAKEHURST – The library transformed from a place to borrow books to a place to buy books, just for the night. But books to purchase from Star Wars to narwhals was just one part of Lakehurst Elementary School’s recent book fair.
Through the library’s back door and down the corridor, a few turns and students and their families were welcomed to the school’s second annual Literacy Fair, no longer just a gymnasium but a colorful maze of tri-fold boards and accompanying artwork, books and displays. A showcase of learned literature.
With all the STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering and math—getting all the attention, it’s easy to remember that if one cannot read, if one possesses a stunted imagination that comes from lack of reading, then the roots wither and the STEM weakens. The admonition that “reading is fundamental” is hardly an overstatement.
Students and teachers from all grade levels, K-8, displayed books they had read or projects they had worked on. Teachers Kaitlyn Cook and Dawn Jauch facilitated the fair.
“The concept is to promote reading, to promote a love of reading, and to make sure the parents are involved,” Jauch said. Indeed, there were multiple generations strolling the fair, looking not only at their own students’ works, but others. “We want them to see a snapshot of their children’s reading. Reading is fun. Reading is important.”
Cook’s favorite book is Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban. Even if literature isn’t based in reality, it tells us about real life.
“We read to connect ourselves with universal themes. Literature teaches us that there are others out there like ourselves, that we’re not alone. It teaches us the difference between right and wrong, about human connection,” Cook said. “There are so many different reasons to read.”
And one piece of advice aspiring writers get is to read, read, read. The lesson paid off for Lakehurst Elementary School alum Cedric Derecho, now an honors and advanced placement senior at Manchester Township High School. He was at the fair to sell his novelization of a long-time Lakehurst resident, called A Small Town Life. It’s based on research Cedric did about a man who lived between the Civil War and World War II, who lived in the house Cedric and his family occupy in Lakehurst, named William Foulks.
Cedric stumbled upon some of Foulks’ story in the Lakehurst Historical Museum, and took his research further to the state archives.
“Everybody knows about the Hindenburg,” Cedric said. “But there are so many more fascinating stories.”
The stories, told through Foulks’ eyes, lent themselves better to a novel rather than, perhaps, a dry nonfiction account. But Cedric did provide a second book, Fact or Fiction? A Small Town Life Revealed, which does delve into the history behind some of the stories in the novel.
Both books are available at thebookpatch.com.
Superintendent Loren Fuhring gave her impression of fair.
“The Literacy Fair is a fabulous event to showcase student work and the efforts and progress of students throughout the year. The fair facilitated a tremendous amount of thought-provoking discussions related to the expression and interpretation of the students’ literary work. This is a collaborative event between the Lakehurst Education Association, the Lakehurst Board of Education, Lakehurst Parent-Teacher Association and the Administration,” Fuhring said. “We continue to be impressed by the levels of parental and community support for this special evening. The Lakehurst School District would also like to thank the Manchester Library, Sandy’s Cozy Corner, and other local businesses for their continued support.”