Even though it’s known for its rigorous STEM curriculum, Hollywood Hill Elementary is advancing children’s engagement with good old-fashioned books by annually transforming the school gym into the award-winning Camp Read-A-Lot. The event focuses on teacher “read-alouds,” giant-sized word games, writing journals and crafts in a camp-like atmosphere.
This year’s school-wide literacy night on Feb. 4 was a big hit with more than 160 families and staff joining in the fun. Scheduled during the school’s Book Fair, Camp Read-A-Lot is designed for pre-readers, struggling and advanced readers, introverts and extroverts. New this year, the Hollywood Hill Sasquatch came to see what all the fuss was about, and have brave teachers and children read to him.
Volunteers, organized by Sienna Brown, a Timbercrest Junior High seventh grader who attended Hollywood Hill, decorated the gym for young readers. Tents, campfires, trees and lots of teddy bears and books made it a cozy place to enjoy all the activities offered. The most popular event is the Teacher Tent, where teachers have to sign up early to get a slot to read to a captivated audience, most of whom come in pajamas.
Denise Need, the founder of the event, stated “Camp Read-A-Lot is about a community that reads together, plays together and laughs together. I encourage anyone thinking about it to, yes, set aside a night in your community and celebrate literacy. The kids will never forget it.” Perhaps the same will be said for sasquatches.