''Remember, we are trying to find a character from the clue we received today so we can figure out what book he or she is from,'' said Lincoln Elementary School teacher Joselle Syracuse to her kindergarteners. ''We need to line up and go to the main office to see if there is a character for us.''
The kindergarteners started on their ''hunt'' with a butterfly net to ''catch'' the character.
''Here it is!'' yelled the students as they searched the main office. They swooped down to catch the character in the butterfly net.
Lincoln Elementary School kindergartners Kamryn Higgs, Aiden Devereaux and Kaitlyn Trout ‘‘catch’’ a character during their PARP activities.
''What character is this and what book do you think he or she is from?'' asked Ms. Syracuse.
The kindergarteners were participating in the ''Catch the Character'' activity as part of their Parents as Reading Partners (PARP) event. This year's theme is ''Reading Brings Books to Life.'' On the morning announcements, PARP coordinators and teachers Anastasia Swanson and Laura Burstrom perform ''newscasts,'' reading elaborate scenarios showing that a character has escaped from a book and was loose in Lincoln School. Teachers read a clue and the students ''capture'' and return them to their book. The teachers fueled up their creative juices to come up with three weeks of activities to encourage reading at home with a family member for at least 15 minutes a day.
''The students love it. It's the one time the entire school comes together for a purpose,'' said the teachers. ''It is motivating them to read more for the joy of reading an hopefully instilling a lifelong habit. We'll walk down the hall and hear the students talking about it because they are so excited.''
PARP began with a kickoff assembly where staff and parents created skits bringing the characters to life from famous children's books such as ''Charlotte's Web;'' ''Mother, Mother I Want Another;'' ''Ramona Quimby, Age 8;'' and ''Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Women.'' A ''Reading Idol'' contest pits classrooms against each other to create the best song, poem, and skit about a book and perform it on the morning announcements. Grade-level daily trivia questions with classroom ''calling in'' the answers let them win weekly prizes.
''I like to read because it gets my imagination going and I can learn new facts,'' said fourth-grader Lilly Melquist. ''I especially like fiction because it's fun and easy to read.''