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Storybook characters straight off the page

Staff participating in the Eastwood reading event were (from left to right): (back row) Andrew Potter as Harry Potter, Megan Diemert as Miss Viola Swamp, Renae Wimer as Llama Llama, Laura Silkey as Fancy Nancy, Mary Haugo as a clown, Denise Bruggeman as Miss Frizzle, Katie Nill as Camilla Cream, Carol Krogh as Frog, Maggie Buck as Toad and Cathy Birrenkott as Mary from Little House on the Prairie; (front row) Peggy Sola as Miss Wishy Washy and Andree Hayes as Eloise. Submitted photo1 / 2
Katie Nill dressed up as Camilla Cream from the book "A Bad Case of Stripes." Submitted photo2 / 2

It was a winning combination.

Teachers dressing up like characters out of their favorite story books provided the perfect setting for Eastwood school children and their parents to enjoy an evening of reading involvement.

Eastwood Elementary hosted the all-school event on Nov. 29 with approximately 80 participants turning out to enjoy the hour-long reading extravaganza.

Students were greeted with a nutritious trail mix snack, followed by ten-minute rotation segments at a variety of reading stations manned by teachers portraying a favorite character from their book of choice.

On that note, parents and children alike had the pleasure of meeting Camilla Cream from a Bad Case of Stripes, Casey at the Bat, Frog and Toad, Fancy Nancy, Miss Frizzle, Mary from Little House on the Prairie, Eloise and Miss Wishy Washy.

At the conclusion of each book reading, students had the opportunity to drop their names into a special bucket, and if the lucky winner, was able to select a book to take home with them.

Peg Sola and Katie Nill, both Eastwood instructors, helped in organizing the evening of fun. They were assisted by a variety of other staffers, all graciously volunteering their time.

In order to plant the seed about what the activity would entail, Nill said flyers were initially sent home explaining how the evening would work. A character day was also held at school during American Education week to get the students excited about it. "We dressed up the same as we were going to for the night event, so they knew who would be coming back to read again," Nill said. "We wanted to get them really excited about the night which would in turn get them excited about reading."

Nill said the strategy worked. "It was just fun! They would have all liked to stay longer," and given the interest a similar event is guaranteed to take place at a point down the road. "They just thought it was great to see teachers out of context dressed up like somebody else."

"They all did certainly love it," Sola added. "Both kids and parents really enjoyed their time and said they would come back in a minute. We definitely plan on doing it again. It was so much fun and an excellent activity to promote reading. The really nice part is that parents thought it was as much fun as their children, and hopefully it will get them fueled up to read more to their kids at home."