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Joining the reading parade

Published Sep. 27, 2005

(ran PC edition)

About 100 parents, grandparents and volunteers participate in Friday's Literacy Day observance at Quail Hollow Elementary School.

It was a day for parents and children to straggle into the media center at Quail Hollow Elementary School, some weighed down with bulky blankets and pillows, others simply toting a favorite book.

Some, like Durk Bever and his children, Taylor, 9, and Kyle, 10, grabbed a stack of books before sprawling out in a bean bag chair. Patty Tedder and her 8-year-old son Tommy Crum laid claim to a small table nestled in the "easy reads" while a few others branched out seeking a secluded corner amongst the book shelves.

When all was read and done, roughly 100 parents, grandparents and volunteers showed up last Friday to read en masse to celebrate International Literacy Day with Quail Hollow students.

Michael Grina said he took some time off from his construction job so he could continue "plodding through" a Harry Potter book with his 9-year-old daughter, Sarah.

Firefighter Ike Rieves, who also owns a lawn care business, said he was more than happy to rearrange his schedule to come to school with his sons Adam, 10, and Jake, 9. Their humorous reading selections included The Stupids Take Off, by Harry Allard, and Wanted: Perfect Parents, by John Himmelman.

"It's about a boy who wants parents who give him ice cream first and never say, "That will spoil your dinner,' " Jake said.

"It was neat," Rieves said of the time spent at school with his sons. "Sometimes you're just too busy to read at home."

There was little doubt that parents at Quail Hollow were doing a good job showing that reading is a definite priority.

"We were totally shocked and very pleasantly surprised at all the parents who showed up," said media specialist Ardie Christensen, who helped to coordinate the reading celebration with primary teacher and Pasco Reading Council member Rachel Powers.

"During the morning session there were people all over the place _ there was no room left at the tables or on the floor," Christensen said.

"I am so impressed (at the turn-out)," said Sharon Renberg, who brought 4-year-old daughter, Savannah, to read with her older sister, Malayna, and a few of her first-grade buddies. "This means that a lot of parents took the day off to be here. And I'm so glad to see so many fathers, not just mothers."

Parents got plenty kudos from the kids, too.

"This is nice _ it's special," said third-grader Tommy Crum. "It's fun to have my mom here."

Nine-year-old Taylor Bever said she was happy that her dad could help celebrate Literacy Day with his children. While her father spent some time with her older brother Kyle, Taylor was off thumbing through the book shelves, looking for more selections to breeze through.

"This is fun," said Taylor with a shy smile. "He's really a good dad to have."

Note: Quail Hollow students also participated in a a school fundraiser, reading books in exchange for donations to help purchase reading materials at the school. Those who would like to help out can call Ardie Christensen at (813) 794-1100.