Friday, October 19, 2001
Hayden Five-year-old Teneka Burger stifled a small yawn on Friday morning as her father finished another page in a story about a pig and his adventures.
"We're almost done," said Burger, wistfully eyeing the final pages of the book.
The kindergartner wanted her father to know that "Tales of Oliver Pig" was getting a bit drawn out, and other books were waiting to be read.
Father and daughter were not alone in the library of Hayden Valley Elementary School on Friday.
Many other children curled up with parents, older siblings, relatives and family friends to listen to them read or to read to them.
Every year, Valley Elementary celebrates national "Read Aloud" month in October by excusing students from class to read books with adults.
"We want to emphasize how important reading is to kids," Valley Elementary Principal Mike Luppes said. "This sends them the message that adults think it's important, too."
A day of reading outside a traditional classroom teaches children that reading can be enjoyed with more than a teacher and other classmates, he said.
Luppes said the school always aims to see every child read to by the end of "Read Aloud" day.
"We're hopeful we reached that goal this year," he said. "Every child deserves that."
Students whose parents could not get away from work were still able to read with an adult.
Tena Frentress was one of the para educators at the elementary school who filled in for parents.
She read some of "Where the Sidewalk Ends" with third-graders Cody Franco and Whitney Templeton.
"We wanted to make sure that no child went without reading with someone," Frentress said. "It's been a great opportunity for kids to see that reading can be fun with other people."
Templeton, 8, said she liked getting out of class to read in the library.
Franco admitted the best thing about the day was the cookies and lemonade waiting for him in the cafeteria.
Students and adults could grab refreshments after hitting the books.
"I like the eating," said Franco, 8. "It's great."
Librarian Ruby Wertenberger said she was encouraged by the strong response from the community.
If parents were unable to read to their children, then grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends cared enough to come, she said.
A few students from the high school even stopped by to read with their younger brothers and sisters, Wertenberger added.
"These kids see the people that are important in their lives come to spend some time with them reading," she said. "They see how much it mattered to them that they read with these kids, and it makes a difference."
Stephanie Pearce and her son, Clayton, said they appreciated the library's quiet atmosphere.
"It's nice not to be rushed," Pearce said. "Clayton and I have a lot of time to just sit and enjoy a book."
Pearce, 9, said he was glad to have no interruption as he read through his book about Halloween and a schnauzer.
A 3-year-old sister can provide plenty of distraction at home, he added.
"She's nice, but she sure knows how to interrupt," he said.
So with book in hand, mother and son settled in to see what would befall the dog as they turned the page together.