HES Reading Night draws record participation


David Horton reads to son Kyle during the Hillsboro Elementary School Family Reading Night on Tuesday, March 10.

A record of about 420 people participated in Hillsboro Elementary School?s annual Family Reading Night from 6 p.m. to about 8:20 p.m. last Tues?day.

The high attendance was partially due to the inclusion of the Head Start preschool students, according to Sandy Arnold, librarian. These students, along with the K-5 students, combined for 69 percent of the student body.

Hillsboro students were treated to an evening of entertainment by teachers and fellow students.

After the guitar class, led by Mike Moran, school counselor, began the evening with music, students and their families spread out to a variety of stations organized on the overarching theme, ?Let?s Book!?

One station was called ?Let?s Play.? In the library, students went on a ?Book Walk.? Book covers lined the floor while parents and children walked around on them as the music played.

Once the music stopped, a book title was drawn. Whoever was standing on that particular title received a prize. Prizes included books, posters, pens and pencils, erasers, bookmarks and more.

A second station was called ?Let?s Read.? One constant at Family Reading Night is a ?reading? station, where families sit around and read books with each other.

In correlation with the reading station this year was a book fair. Families were allowed to browse the fair, as well as take a few moments to read together.

The HES site council ran this first-time event.

A third station was called ?Let?s Travel.? Families were treated to the story, ?That?s Good, That?s Bad in the Grand Canyon,? narrated by teachers Michelle Goldsby, Debbie Dick and Vera Isaac.

The story tells of a young boy and his grandmother?s vacation to the Grand Canyon and the good and bad events that happen when she loses him over the edge.

Staying with the camping and outdoor theme, students made smores as their evening snack.

?Let?s Be Healthy? was the name of a fourth station. After hearing the story, ?Bear Feels Sick,? read by Ellynne Wiebe, students participated in relays to help take care of the sick teddy bear. Students took blankets, medicine, soup, tea and other items friends need when they don?t feel well.

A fifth station was called ?Let?s Discover.? With the help of Dr. L (aka teacher Julie Linnens) and her able assistant, Igor (aka teacher Eleanor Jost), students discovered what happens when a variety of materials are mixed in a mad scientist lab.

Students witnessed the creation of potion and slime, and then watched the crazy doctor and her sidekick write secret messages with invisible ink and observe the behavior of sewer lice.

The last stop on the tour was ?Let?s Rock.? featuring a concert by the Punk Farm Band. Once they got the farmer to bed and the pig to behave, the Punk Farm Band entertained families with rockin? renditions of ?Old McDonald Had a Farm? and ?BINGO.?

Band members included: Sheep (principal Evan Yoder) on vocals, Goat (Moran) on guitar, Pig (teacher Rod Just) on bass, Chicken (teacher Keli Wray) on keyboard and Cow (student Jacob Humber) on drums. Teacher Maura Wiebe and her son, Jake, also assisted.

Once the stations were completed, families returned to the gym for two skits performed by fifth-grade volunteer students. The two skits were ?The Legend of Lightning Larry,? a readers? theater; and ?Serious Farm,? a book by Tim Egan.

Arnold said it was a busy evening at HES.

?Thankfully, we have a wonderful staff who is willing to share their talents and their time to make the evening a success,? she said. ?We are also very fortunate to have Joanne Loewen?s children?s literature class from Tabor assist to help make the evening run smoothly.?

She said numerous people offered ideas, props and time to make it a fun evening for students.

?I really need to say a big thanks to the parents also for bringing their children to a nonathletic event,? Arnold said. ?It shows our kids that our families and community, as much as we love our sports, also value the importance of reading and education.?

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