Trick-or-treating with books as well as candy

Published 9:57 am Thursday, October 31, 2019

For many children, reading can be a chore, often an activity they either do not care for or do not have reliable access to at all. Elizabethton City Schools are working to curb both of those problems, especially at the elementary level.

Hundreds of children and their parents formed a long line just outside East Side Elementary Tuesday evening, all trying to get into the school’s playground, where not just candy awaited them.

The elementary school was gathering for their “Book and Treat” event.

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“Every kid will receive one or two books for free tonight,” principal Travis Hurley said.

Each grade level had their own tent for the students to visit, where they could both get some candy for their participation and receive new books for them to read alone or with their parents.

Normally such an initiative at the school takes place at a bingo event, but this year was a change.

“We wanted to try something different,” he said. “You can see a lot of parent involvement tonight.”

Even the adults were getting in on the Halloween action. All of the faculty members were dressed up in costumes and decorated their tents accordingly, and some of the parents dressed up to match their children’s costumes.

“It is important to get students engaged,” reading interventionist Rachel Howell said. “It is an opportunity to give parents resources and strategies.”

One of the tents that evening was there to give parents potential strategies to make reading more enjoyable for their children so they will read more often outside of school.

“It is a neat way to get books into their hands,” Hurley said.

His favorite part of the night, he said, is the response he gets from the students the day after.

“They come back and tell me about it,” he said.

This sense of community involvement is one of the school’s main methods of making sure their students are learning and developing, even when they leave the building.

“It is good to build relationships [with them],” Howell said. “That is what sets it apart. East Side is the place to be.”