Hampton Cove Elementary celebrates their love of reading with annual parade

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Friday morning, Hampton Cove Elementary celebrated the return of a longtime program. The school's Parade of Readers is kicking off a five-week curriculum to ignite the love of reading among students and their parents.

"The rest of the school will come out and support and cheer them on as they go through the halls with the drum corps, and the band and the cheerleaders from the middle school are getting ready for the kickoff that starts today," said Hampton Cove Elementary retired teacher JoNell O'Connor.

People were out in numbers to support first graders at the school. For over 20 years, the Parade of Readers has been helping students develop a love of reading.

"It encourages children to read," said O'Connor. "The teachers set their first goal for 30 books and after that, the children set their own goal."

O'Connor helped start the Parade of Readers 19 years ago. Now retired, she enjoys coming back to be part of the event.

JoNell O'Connor is in the Dr. Seuss "Cat in the Hat" costume. She helped start the Parade of Readers program at Hampton Cove Elementary 19 years ago. Even though she is retired now, she returns to celebrate with the school. (Photo: Sarah Macaluso/WHNT News 19)

"What we see is not only the ability to read increases and grows, what we have seen is the love of reading," said O'Connor.

The program is designed not to be a challenge between students, but a goal-setting program for each student. With all the positive feedback, O'Connor hopes the program will make its way to other places beyond Huntsville and Madison County.