South Orangetown Central School District

On March 1, SOCES PTA kicked off the 3rd Annual Pick A Reading Partner (PARP) program at William O. Schaefer Elementary School and Cottage Lane Elementary School! “PARP is a New York State PTA literacy program to engage parents, teachers and community organizations in fostering a love of reading,” explained SOCES PTA PARP Committee Chairperson Cindy Caraballo. “Reading one book together across both elementary schools gives our community something in common that they can talk about together, which is inspiring. In developing the program, I felt that if kids had a bigger experience, whether a program at their library or a shake at the diner, it would create additional, positive associations with reading.”

Each year, SOCES PTA purchases a copy of the featured book for every K-5 household to keep. This year’s pick was “Me, Frida and the Secret of the Peacock Ring” by Angela Cervantes.

An extraordinary amount of planning and production goes into launching PARP each year, from book selection to curriculum development to collaborations with community partners. “We did a ton of research!’ Caraballo laughed. “We made a huge list of books and then whittled it down to a few finalists that read as a committee. I wanted to do a book that came from a new voice. It’s a mystery, which we hadn’t done before and it involves culture, travel, world language and art in a fun way. Our schools really leveraged this with their programs, particularly our library, technology and art teachers. Parents and PTA members developed a discussion guide, Spanish vocabulary sheet, launch video and engaged the Mighty Five local libraries and several local businesses.”

Parents have expressed appreciation for the book, some mentioning that it wasn’t a title that they would necessarily have found on their own. “We talk a lot about educating families on diversity and equity and when you read together, parents become part of the journey and are learning along with that child and having that experience with them,” reflected Caraballo.

SOCES PTA was named a New York State PTA Region Winner for its 2019 PARP program, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.”

Thank you to the following individuals who have dedicated a great deal of time and effort to produce this year’s PARP program: Cindy Caraballo, Kelly Ruby, Andrea Kheocha-on, Corinne Sletner, Brenda Boysa, Lorraine Fisher, Laina Karavani, Diana Nicaj, Ashley van Scheppingen, Luke van Scheppingen, Celine Zatarga, Kristine Wagner, Elizabeth Piteo, Jared Mesibov, Randi Nerkizian, Sheila Beglin, Brian Galvin, Karen Ramirez and Rob Schliessman.


  • View the 2021 SOCSD launch video here.
  • View the complete reading companion packet here.
  • View the choice board created by Palisades Library Children’s and Youth Librarian Carly Campos here.

Look for more PARP posts on our Facebook and Instagram feeds this week! Artwork below created by WOS art teacher Elizabeth Piteo.

Bulletin board with "Me, Frida and the Secrety of the Peacock Ring" artwork