PHOTO OP:

Children pose for pictures at a photo station set up for Family Literacy Night at Diamondback Elementary School on Thursday night. The simulated camp fire was designed within the evening theme “Camp Reads-a-Lot.”

BULLHEAD CITY — Diamondback Elementary School turned its gym into a temporary camp site devoted to reading on Thursday evening.

School staff renamed the gym “Camp Reads-A-Lot” for Family Literacy Night.

“It encourages parent participation,” said Diamondback Principal Martin Muecke, who was helping staff and volunteers set up before the event.

He said this was the school’s first time using the camp theme for family fun-and-learning activities.

Children received free books after completing various activities, such as completing a map-oriented assignment. The children could color in the map before or after answering questions about how someone might find their way to certain locations depicted.

Another spot named “Gone Fishin’ For Rhymes,” consisted of a dry kiddie pool containing numerous colorful fake fish. The children used string tied to a rope with a magnet at the end to pick up the fish.

But there was a catch to their catch. They were standing near a word taped to the floor and had to find a fish with a word on it that rhymed with the floor word. If the word “camp” was on the floor, a fish with the word “lamp” on it would be a correct fish to yank out of the pool.  

Children could construct story retelling cubes. The resulting paper cubes could be thrown across a table and when a question came up such as “problem” and then have to explain what dilemma the lead character in the book had to resolve, for example.

A word play activity in which the children wrote down a phrase, cut out each letter before using the cutouts to create new words and list them to help with vocabulary building. There were plenty of words to be found within the phrase “a camping spree.”

There were several other things to do, including face painting, puppet creating, bookmark making and the assembling of bags of s’mores.

There was a photo station for parents to take pictures of their children using props to simulate roasting marshmallows in a fire titled “S’more Reading.” There were some books placed within the scene, of course. 

But parents were encouraging many of the children to eat dinner before digging into their bags of s’mores made from graham cracker cereal, tiny marshmallows and chocolate chips. The campout-style fare included hot dogs, chips and drinks.

Once the children completed their time at various stations, they could choose a free book.

Some of the titles children picked out included “Dog On A Frog,” “The Bad Seed,” and “The Ninjabread Man.”

Justin Dietz, a second-grader, said his favorite reads are chapter books. He held up his free book: a copy of “Flat Stanley — Stanley and the Magic Lamp.” 

“He reads about everything,” said Kassie Baxter, his mother. 

She explained that Stanley from the book is flat, thus “able to transport himself easily.”

Dietz said he also enjoys the writings of Dr. Seuss.

Landon Moreno, also in second grade, had one more activity to complete before choosing his free book, but after eating his dinner. 

He said he most enjoys “Dog Man” and “Captain Underpants” books. 

When Moreno heard there were some copies of books on the table from the latter series, he responded with a small smile and began chewing his food a little faster.

Moreno’s family also receives free books through Unite For Literacy — four books a week for 25 weeks. 

One of books allowed him to learn about some animals he really likes.

“White tigers and lions,” he said.

Students ages 3-6 in the Bullhead City Elementary School District are eligible for the program. A representative was signing up families at the Diamondback event. Visit uniteforliteracy.com to see available e-books versions of their titles. 

This service is part of the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program, a federal grant awarded to BCESD, created to promote and enhance literacy for children from birth to 12th grade. Learn more at www.crsk12.org.

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