Author Ronda Friend at the daytime assembly
The children were captivated
Friend motivated the students to read books
The students were attentive
The author stressed all kinds of character education messages that related to her books
She tickled the audience with her antics
At the evening performance students were excited to participate
Staff members joined in the fun.
There was plenty of drama
The audience enjoyed the characters' performances in the skit
Taking a bow for their performance
The author signed autographs for her fans
Author Friend and fourth grader Jana Kachakeche
Grandmothers Carol Shearer and Ann Criswell joined their granddaughters after the evening performance
Chloe Williams with her Dad Stephen Williams after she won a door prize
Counselor Jill Frogge with third grader Kinley Baker and Author Ronda Friend
Parent Jennifer Owens with her daughters chatting wih the author's husband as they shopped for books
Some of the book series was displayed at the performance
Monticello Elementary students were anxious to return to school for a family literacy night recently held, featuring children’s author Ronda Friend. They were even cast in part of her child-friendly performance.
After the daytime assembly, fourth grader Jana Kachakeche said in a determined voice, “I’m coming back tonight!”
Classmate Tasia Spradlin added, “I’ve been looking forward to this event. I thought it was funny. It kind of relates to my life because I live on a farm.”
“It was really good,” said fellow fourth grader Madalyn Lewis.
Well-respected author, musician, storyteller Ronda Friend shared the day’s events with families at the evening performance. “Your children are awesome! They are great listeners.”
The third, fourth and fifth graders had participated in a literacy week leading up to the day that included a daytime assembly, family dinner in the evening, and climactic evening program where parents could enjoy the author’s entertaining antics, too. Drawings for prizes were also revealed in conjunction with the show.
Students were acquainted with the “Down on Friendly Acres” book series prior to the Franklin, Tennessee, author’s visit with special readings from chapters in their classrooms. The students had the chance to participate in a literacy night contest too. The third graders were challenged to write their own story, which included a main character visiting Friendly Acres Farm. They were instructed to have their character learn a lesson about being honest while they were visiting, while also illustrating their story. The fourth and fifth graders had an equally challenging assignment that tested their creative abilities illustrating character traits, along with an illustration.
During the special events, the author nailed an important lesson with the children – “If you read a lot, you know a lot!”
During the evening assembly, students were excited to join in together on two songs that Friend taught them – Love You to the Moon and Back! and There’s No End in Friend.
The lyrics, “Tell me once, tell me twice, tell me a thousand times…You love me to the moon and back” echoed across the gymnasium, emphasizing a message of love at the special event. She said her books were based on true stories from her childhood where she really did grow up on Friendly Acres. She told the audience she was older than Chatty Cathy, Barbie and Walt Disney World. She explained that she was taught to sow seeds of kindness, practice forgiveness, and learned it is best not to lie.
“If you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say it,” Friend advised.
The showstopper for the audience was when the students acted out P.U. You Stink and dressed up as pigs, skunks, and stinkbugs to defeat the evil foxes – Eeany-Meany, Miney and Moe (with talented performances by some of the staff at Monticello Elementary). The moral of the playful story was the “family who stinks together – sticks together!”
The skit was based on her unique series – Wild and Wacky Animal Tales – that is written two different ways on the same page – in prose for older students and in rhyme for younger children. The final song – Love Me to Bed emphasized the importance of reading to children each night.
The students and staff clad in plaid and denim will most likely remember these fun teachable moments where educators went the extra mile to promote literacy.