Clad in pajamas and eager to gather round the campfire, McKinley Elementary School students and families set up camp in the gymnasium for the March 29 family reading night.
Eagerly going along with the “Under the Stars” theme for the evening, children ate hot dogs and made trail mix, then spread sleeping bags out on the gymnasium floor.
Pop-up tents were raised and a faux campfire lit as guitar-playing storyteller/musician Jack Pearson thrilled campers with story and song.
In celebration of reading, students also made animal track bookmarks, swapped books, played Build-a-Word and even added phrases to a progressive story posted on the wall just outside the gymnasium.
That story would later be printed on pages and bound into a book that would be placed in the McKinley school library.
Not only that, in honor of the “Under the Stars” theme, the school gymnasium had become Camp McKinley and the aroma of roasted hot dogs and the glow of a pretend campfire filled the air as Pearson strummed his guitar and children settled in to their sleeping bags.
“This is fun. I want to go camping for real and bring all my books in the tent and read them by the campfire for real,” said Ellie Andresen as she and four classmates sat on their sleeping bags inside the tent and waited for Pearson to tell another story.
“We went with the theme ‘Under the Stars’ because we know kids love to camp and thought it would be fun to have a camp night for reading,” said Tracey Dalve a member of McKinley’s PTO, who organized the event.
During family reading night, parents were also invited to help their children become even better readers and were given a brochure with simple activities they could use to help boost the love of reading.
“Logan already loves to read and this made it even more fun,” one mom said as she gathered up a sleeping bag and blanket as family reading night came to an end.
Sue Austreng is at firstname.lastname@example.org