Reading with characters at Stewart Street School

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By Alice Du Pont

  Imagine arriving at school and being greeted by all sorts of characters famous in story books. That's what happened at Stewart Street Elementary School on Oct. 7 and the 500 students from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade were giddy with excitement. Toothless kindergarten students covered their mouths and giggled as their teacher, dressed as pinocchio led them to the cafeteria for lunch.
    The cafeteria ladies looked like witches in their orange and black pointed hats.
    "The teachers and staff were all very creative. We has a much fun or more than the kids," said Lisa Robinson, principal.
    On the fourth grade wing, teachers Nicole Dixon was Pippi Longstocking, Twanda Bell-Key was the Pirate of the Caribbean, Rekeysha Johnson was Cookie Monster and Moneek Walker was Olive Oyl.
    All of that fun was for a purpose. The school kickoff its accelerated reading  program with the aim of reaching the goal of 10,000 books read by the students at the end of the year.
    Robinson said the school's leadership team came up with the idea of bringing story book characters to life as a way to give the students an incentive to read. Students will also be given monthly incentives to read as well.
    Thursday was a different because across the county, volunteers visited school to read to students. Everyone should have been reading "A Snowy Day" at the same time, according to Robinson.
    While all teachers dressed up and participated in a fashion show for students, a panel of community volunteers judged the costumes and characters. The winners were selected based on authenticity, originality, detail of costume and performance of the character they portrayed.
    The first, second and third place winners received $100, $50, and $25 dollar VISA gift cards respectively.