Lindale full of Smarty Patardies

Nathan Liewicki
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Students celebrate learning achievement

The lure of a coveted green T-shirt captivated the young mind of Conner MacDonald.

Through four tubs, each with five sets of rings holding 25-30 laminated and hole punched cards with sight words, MacDonald worked toward achieving his goal. It was not, however, always easy.

“If he was too tired he got frustrated,” said Kristan Denet, Conner’s mother. “Words like ‘were’ and ‘where’ were tough, but overall the words weren’t too troublesome for him.”

With the help of his mother and teacher, Conner learned more than 300 words and received his very own green “I’m a Smarty-Patardy” T-shirt.

He did not say much, but the Grade 1 Lindale Elementary School student said he was “happy” to achieve his goal. He also nodded when asked if his mom had helped him along the way.

On Thursday, parents and teachers of Lindale’s 64 Smarty Patardies formally celebrate their literary achievement with a toast and a sweet treat every child loves: cake.

Allison Shillington, one of three Grade 1 and 2 teachers involved in the Smarty Patardy celebration, said home support is crucial for students.

Although 30 classroom minutes a day were spent teaching the students to learn how to read the sight words, Shillington noted the push by parents to teach their children how to read were just as important. That is why the students’ parents and grandparents were invited to the school Thursday.

Like Denet, Dean Johnson was at Lindale School to share in his son’s major achievement, which was not without incentives.

“I got him Hot Wheels, anything he wanted off eBay, more hockey time, cake and slurpees to push him,” Johnson said of his son, Ethan.

Johnson knew the incentives were part of the incentive package he needed to offer Ethan if he was going to become a Smarty Patardy because he previously had an older child earn his own T-shirt.

In fact, Ethan told the Times-Herald that his older brother, as well as his parents, helped him to learn how to read.

“It’s good because I hope to be a good reader when I grow up,” Ethan said of the program, after running for the playground straight for the slices of cake Shillington was serving students and parents.

Shillington described the reading initiative as a major undertaking, but one that will pay dividends for students as their reading abilities increase. 

“Once they get those site words under their belts they are off to the races,” she said.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Grade 1 Lindale Elementary School, Lindale School, EBay Times-Herald

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