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Magnolia's Annual "Celebration of Words": Focus Words & Read Alouds

word celebration highlights graphic day 1

March 4, 2021


At the beginning of the school year, Magnolia Elementary Principal Dr. Phyllis Faust asked teachers to collaborate with their students to think of a word that would best represent their class. This word would be their focus word for the year. Teachers and students took time and effort to select words that they thought best represented and helped strengthen their classroom learning communities. Individuality, friendship, industriousness, perseverance, kindness, reading, flexibility, independence, unstoppable, imagination, responsibility, loyalty, joy, confidence, positivity, and creativity are just some of the focus words that are showcased throughout the school. The focus word is displayed in the classroom as a reminder of the word selected by that class.

Because she has a deep love and appreciation for words, reading, and learning, Dr. Faust makes it a point to read to each classroom at Magnolia during the week of Read Across America (first week of March, annually).  This year, not only the week of Read Across America, but the entire month of March, Dr. Faust plans to visit each classroom to share with students a special book tied to that classroom's focus word. After she reads the book, Dr. Faust always takes the time to have a conversation with students. They discuss their classroom focus word and how their chosen word connects to the book. It is more than just reading. It is about the relationship between Dr. Faust and Magnolia students. 

Magnolia Elementary School Librarian, Ms. Rebecca Bishop, proves instrumental in spearheading this school-wide initiative, which has become one of Magnolia Elementary School's most popular events.


Principal Dr. Faust standing before class reading Dr. Faust's love of words has spread like wildfire throughout our school. To further carry out this love of words, Dr. Faust, Superintendent Dr. Pattie Neill, several Magnolia family members, and several well-loved authors, have kindly and generously participated in Magnolia's Word Celebration, a month-long daily showcasing of one of their favorite words, by submitting 2-5 minute video messages to the students at Magnolia. These messages not only highlight unique and meaningful words, but give students important life lessons, as well.  Dr. Faust's video message allowed students to see the powerful impact words have upon people and to use one's words wisely. Dr. Neill's video message caused students to have a greater understanding of the word “composure” - a crucial skill in developing character and strengthening patience. Author David LaRochelle's message to students gave a glimpse of the importance of friendships and being a true and good friend to others. Author Tom Watson's message gave the students the opportunity to learn to draw Stick Dog, the well-loved character in his book series. Finally this week Alyssa Capucilli, author of the Biscuit series, will share with students the value of imagination.

The lessons in these messages are already making positive impacts on the students at Magnolia. A teacher discussed the benefits of composure with her students who were waiting patiently in the hallway. Another teacher taught her students about two-dimensional shapes based on Tom Watson's video message when he used shapes to draw Stick Dog. Many students have written thank you letters to the people who have graciously created video messages for them. When Dr. Faust read aloud David LaRochelle's book, See the Cat: Three Stories about a Dog, students waited with eager anticipation for her to begin the next story, then roared with laughter as she continued reading.  Magnolia's Celebration of Words shows that a love of words not only fans the flames of reading, learning, and deep thinking, but also helps build a caring community of learners who appreciate and respect one another.