HES ‘Family Reading Night’ draws 2/3 of students, families


Pig (Rod Just), Rooster (Keli Chisholm), Iguana (Evan Yoder) and Turtle (Lenna Knoll) get ready to prepare a wonderful strawberry shortcake during their ?Family Reading Night? station.<p>

It was a night for ?leaping? into literature at the 2008 HES Family Reading Night.

Family and friends gathered at Hillsboro Elementary School on Tuesday, March 11, to share in the Leap Year reading celebration.

Students and their families were treated to a night of books, games, prizes, food, laughter and fun.

Before beginning the traditional station activities, families watched a video chosen in honor of the presidential election year.

Fifth-grade teachers and students were the stars of the video, ?My Teacher For President,? based on the book by Kay Winters. In the video, students gave examples of how their teachers would be good candidates for president. Channel 45 will be airing the video soon.

After the conclusion of the video, families were dismissed to the following stations:

  • ?Where are all your true books?? Nonfiction has grown by leaps and bounds, and fourth-grade teacher Maura Wiebe told students and parents why nonfiction is so popular at the HES library, as well as to show them some of the newest nonfiction books available there.

  • ?Hop in and read.? Fami?lies were allowed to ?leap into literature? as they read some old favorites and previewed new nonfiction materials.

  • ?Dex: The Heart of a Hero.? Dex, a dachshund, is tired of being bullied because of his size. Working hard to overcome his fears, he becomes ?faster than a rolling ball, stronger than the toughest cowhide, and able to leap tall fences in a single bound?.? After hearing this story read by fifth-grade teacher Claire Overstake, students were ready to try their hand at being a superhero like Dex by maneuvering through an obstacle course to save a cat in a tree.

  • ?Cook-a-Doodle-Doo.? In this story, Little Red Hen?s grandson Rooster?played by preschool teacher Keli Chisholm?is following in his great-grandmother?s footsteps. He?s leapt into the kitchen to try a new recipe. But unlike his great-grandmother, he has help making it.

    His helpers were played by pig (third-grade teacher Rod Just), iguana (principal Evan Yoder), and turtle (third-grade teacher Lenna Knoll). Despite some difficulties in cooking know-how, the four manage to create an awesome strawberry shortcake.

    After the skit, students created their own strawberry shortcakes out of cookies, frosting and berry fruit chews with the help of ?Chef Martha? (first-grade teacher Julie Linnens), who was brought back by popular demand.

  • ?I Wanna Iguana.? Leaping at the chance to own his friend?s iguana, Alex writes letters to convince his mom he needs it as a pet. His mom writes letters to convince him he doesn?t.

    When the families finished hearing both sides of the story, narrated by fifth-graders Grant Knoll and Madison Klein, they were allowed to explore three ?letter writing? sites on the computer. The sites can be found on the USD 410 Web site under the elementary page.

  • ?Book Character Bingo.? Clifford, Junie B., Captain Underpants were among the many main characters in the Bingo game. Students and family members leaped with joy when they found five characters in a row on their game board. Prizes awarded to the lucky winners included books, posters, bookmarks, sports cards and candy.

To conclude the evening, parents went back to the gym to watch several fifth-graders perform the skit, ?Skippyjon Jones? by Judy Schachner. The story is about a Siamese cat who thinks he is a Chihuahua and has an overactive imagination.

Three grand-prize boxes of pop, candy, popcorn and books for people of all ages were given away after the skit.

Two-thirds of the HES student body and their families attended the event, making for a packed house. Michelle Berens? afternoon kindergarten class had the highest attendance with 91 percent, earning a class pizza party.

?I think it is very impressive that 66 percent of our elementary families would stay out a little later on a school night to show their children the value of reading,? said Sandy Arnold, librarian. ?That says a lot for our community about its priorities and its emphasis on education.?

Arnold said without the support and involvement of teachers, staff and administration, the annual Family Reading Night wouldn?t be possible.

?These nights would not be possible, or nearly as successful, without the teachers and staff who are so willing to volunteer their time, effort and craziness,? she said. ?They deserve the credit for making this night fun and successful.?

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