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Centerville students enjoy reading, S'mores

Colleen Blascik, 8, right, enjoys a marshmallow alongside her father, Mike, brother, Andrew, 4, and sister, Summer, 6, at the fourth annual “Read around the campfire” event on Thursday at Centerville Elementary. The event is designed to encourage reading and offer parents a chance to learn more about what their children are learning in school. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

Colleen Blascik, 8, right, enjoys a marshmallow alongside her father, Mike, brother, Andrew, 4, and sister, Summer, 6, at the fourth annual “Read around the campfire” event on Thursday at Centerville Elementary. The event is designed to encourage reading and offer parents a chance to learn more about what their children are learning in school. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

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Centerville Elementary students gather around fire pits at the school on Thursday to roast marshmallows as part of the fourth annual “Read around the campfire” event designed to encourage reading and offer parents a chance to learn more about what their children are learning in school. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

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Centerville Elementary teacher Allison Wood reads books to students on Thursday night as part of the fourth annual “Read around the campfire” event at the school. The event included a virtual field trip with an author, mystery guest readers, video book sharing, book walks, reader’s theater, and e-class at home training for parents. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

SNELLVILLE — Colleen Blascik enjoyed several things about Thursday night’s “Read around the campfire” event at her school, but one especially stood out.

“Mostly, the S’mores,” said the 8-year-old student at Centerville Elementary.

Blascik took in the fourth annual event alongside her sister Summer, 6, and brother Andrew, 4, and a few hundred classmates. When she stepped away from the fire pits and inside, Colleen said the book fair was her favorite, including the popular series the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

Centerville Assistant Principal Joan Chatham said the event was designed to encourage reading and to help parents better understand what their children are learning. Activities included a virtual field trip with an nonfiction author, mystery guest readers, video book sharing, book walks, a reader’s theater and e-class at home training for parents. The author shared how she became an author and the importance of reading, while reader’s theater covered plays.

“It’s always been students doing it, and we’re finding we’re working more with the parents,” Chatham said. “What reading looks like in the classroom. How you teach reading, and we have a writing activity, using technology and getting ideas for parents. It’s just very involved.”

Chatham said the goal was for parents to become better acquainted with tools such as e-readers, which are familiar to students, and allow them to read on 30 levels on or around them.

One especially popular element was where teachers shared videos that explained their favorite books.

“The kids really enjoy it,” said Carrie Kalifeh, a mother of four children who have attended Centerville, including two currently enrolled. “They just enjoy being around their kids, but they learn about different books. They like to come, especially to see their teacher. My kindergartner was more excited about seeing his teacher than anybody.”

While the S’mores were also popular with Kalifeh’s children, she said the book fair was, too.

“My kids enjoy coming and it gives them an opportunity to learn in a fun environment,” she said. “They’re not just sitting in class learning, it gives them activities to learn new things in a fun way.”