SHORT order for reading

Published 6:25 pm Thursday, February 24, 2022

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Dozens of fifth grade students at Banks Middle School raised their hands and pledged to read every night and to be role models for their younger friends.

That was a SHORT order from the squirrel and the students raised their hands without hesitation. After all, SHORT the Squirrel explained to them the importance of reading for learning and for pleasure and the importance of passing that love to others by example.

SHORT the Squirrel turned two years old on 2/22 in 2022 and he could not have received a better present than a room filled youngsters who enjoy reading and want to pass their love of the written word to others.

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Banks Principal Shantell Rouse said having SHORT the Squirrel’s Literacy Initiative at Banks Middle School was reinforcement of the school’s focus on reading and sharing literacy through learning.

“Reading is a most important skill — the most important skill,” Rouse said. “We want our students to read to learn and we want them to enjoy reading. We were excited to have SHORT the Squirrel visit Banks Middle School. SHORT encouraged our students to, not only read, but to be role models for reading for other students.”

The message SHORT and Rouse emphasized was that each student has someone who is looking up to him or her and thinks they are special. So, each Banks student can be a role model for reading.

SHORT is the creation of Monica Anderson and Dr. Dee Dupree Bennett, Troy University education professor. Anderson’s daughter McRae Young, a Mobile County Assistant District Attorney, had noticed that children coming to court lacked material to occupy themselves during their wait, as electronic devices are not permitted in Alabama courtrooms.

This realization was incentive for the creation of SHORT, a curious squirrel who wants to help children explore their surroundings. Bennet and Young hope SHORT will become a statewide initiative positively affecting each young citizen who meets SHORT.