Photo: Kaitlin Woodbury’s 1st grade class in front of the Blizzard of Books bulletin board.

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Phippsburg, ME (February 28, 2022) - The day before Phippsburg Elementary School students left on winter break, they gathered in the gym for a rare treat – popcorn, hot chocolate, and a movie – to celebrate the conclusion of their winter reading program: Blizzard of Books.

Second grade teacher Kaitlin Woodbury and 1st grade teacher Donna Tardiff planned the program to keep students engaged with reading while remaining mindful of COVID-19 protocols.

 “Students really seemed to get excited about it,” said Woodbury. “Movie day was a fun reward for students to work toward and it helped keep them focused during the mid-winter slump.”

 Each class determined their own age-appropriate reading goals for participation. For Woodbury’s class, the goal was 15-20 minutes of independent reading a day per student. Older classrooms set goals based on the number of books students read. When goals were reached, the classroom earned a snowflake to put on a bulletin board in the main hall.

 Students voted to watch Disney’s Encanto on movie day, and their community stepped up to make the celebration special: the Phippsburg Fire Association donated a popcorn machine and supplies for snacks, and the Phippsburg Parent-Teacher Association lent a hand making the popcorn and hot chocolate.

 “I hope we can make Blizzard of Books an annual event,” said Woodbury. “It’s so nice to do something together as a school.”