The theme for the evening was mysteries, but it’s no mystery that Family Reading Night is a popular event at Hillsboro Elementary School.
Librarian Sandy Arnold, the chief organizer, estimated the participation to be similar to last year’s—about 465, including 190 to 200 children.
“I’m impressed with the community, to send kids to school for something like this,” Arnold said. “That’s pretty awesome.”
The official theme this year was “LSI: Library Scene Investigation,” a play on the name of the popular “CSI” TV shows.
The format featured six stations through which family groups would rotate during the evening.
One, called “Grandpa’s Teeth” after a children’s book of the same name by Rod Clement, served double duty as the evening snack stop. The book is about Grandpa’s missing false teeth, which students at HES recreated using two slices of apples, caramel and marshmallows.
“If you held them up just right, it looked like false teeth,” Arnold said.
First-grade teacher Julie Linnens led the session in the guise of Martha Stewart with a foreign accent.
A second station, called “Get a Clue,” gave families an opportunity to read books together or shop the library’s book fair.
“Sometimes kids don’t always want to do that, but some of the kids really do like that,” Arnold sad. “They just like to read with their mom and dad and show them the library and the books they like.”
In keeping with tradition, the evening included a game station. This time students could participate in a book walk, similar to a cake walk.
“We had book covers as footprints taped to the floor in a circle,” Arnold said. “The kids would walk while the music was playing. When it stopped, if they were standing on a cover that was drawn, they would win a prize.”
In a station called “Puzzle Mystery Relay,” children formed teams that required each member to run to one end of the gym and draw a slip of paper out of a bag. Each slip had a clue to the mystery on one side and a direction to either hop, skip or jump on their way back to the team.
The clues pertained to something students had learned in library class. The first team to figure out the answer was the winner.
The sixth station featured two videos created by 29 fifth-graders. One video, called “The Web Files,” was based on a book of same name written by Margie Palatini. The main characters were a duck named Ducktective Web and his cohort Bill.
The other video was called “BSI-HES,” based on the “CSI” series.
“It was about a library book that had been returned damaged, but nobody knew who returned it,” Arnold said. “So BSI detectives Sherlock Holmes and Watson, with their team of forensic scientists, were called in to figure out who the culprit was.”
She added, “The fifth-graders did such a good job with it. You could tell they had a good time.”
Both videos have been posted on the USD 410 Facebook page.
After completing the six stations, participants gathered in the gym to hear from Staff Infection, a band comprised of oddly dressed teachers and staff members: Linnens, Evan Yoder, Traci Boldt, Mike Moran, Rod Just and Steve Noble.
The group performed a song about reading adapted from Katy Perry’s popular song, “Firework.”
The evening ended with a drawing for prizes called “Who Won It?” based on the phrase, “Who done it?”
“We have a fantastic staff that is willing to get involved like that, act a little crazy and do things they’re not used to,” Arnold said. “The kids just love to see them doing that. That’s what makes it fun.
“I think it turned out pretty well,” she said of the night. “I just hope the kids had a good time. That’s what it’s all about.”