NORTH ROYALTON – You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.
This Dr. Seuss sentiment sums up the intention of Royal View Elementary’s annual Literacy Night on March 1, a wacky event that usually coincides Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The school welcomes families to come listen to books read by local celebrities.
Several teachers were guest readers as were Superintendent Greg Gurka, Director of Pupil Services Julie Bogden, Assistant Fire Chief Tom Habak, Council President Larry Antoskiewicz and Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw.
Even Slider, the Cleveland Indians’ mascot, and Clifford the Big Red Dog dropped by to cheer youngsters on and celebrate the importance of reading.
“’She tested the big bed, but it was too lumpy, she tested the medium bed but it was too squishy, she tested the little bed and it was just right,’” Habak said, reading from Goatilocks and the Three Bears. “What do you think she’s going to do?”
“Eat it!” one child guessed.
“’She ate it!’” Habak read on.
Afterward, he shared why he loves this.
“As a kid, I always loved to read,” he said.
“I love to read too,” his own third-grader Lexi interjected proudly.
“I did this even before my kids were up here and now that they go to school here, it’s extra special,” Habak smiled.
Christian Cotrau and his son Noah, 5, listened to Habak read.
“Noah is a preschooler and I wanted to participate since this is his first time. His mom reads a lot to him, and I try as much as I can,” he said.
What’s Noah’s favorite book at home?
“Star Wars,” he smiled.
Elizabeth Bogoi, 7, was excited to attend the event and had one thing on her mind.
“The book fair!” she said, hoping to take some goodies home.
Down the hall, a very animated Gurka was reading “Hensel and Gretel Ninja Chicks” to a group of students.
“Whoa, somebody threw a pan!” he said, peppering the book with his own commentary.
Things got a little electrifying during Antoskiewicz’s reading too but for different reasons. As he was reciting pages of, “Prince Cinders,” a funny boy version of “Cinderella”, the room fell pitch black for a few seconds when the power went out briefly as the snowstorm blew through.
“That was exciting,” one mom thought aloud as the power returned.
“I thought I was going to have to tell a little bit different story,” Antoskiewicz chuckled.
He continued on with the fate of Prince Cinders’ evil brothers whom his new bride, “’turned into house fairies and they flitted around the palace doing the housework forever and ever.’”
“Yay, I like that part,” a parent said.
Across the room, Langshaw was reading a very appropriate book: “One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote.”
“’We also elect sheriffs and mayors and such. Do local elections count?’ I hope so,” he said as an aside. “’You bet, just as much!”
Afterward, he donated the book to the school media center.
“So kids that can’t enjoy it today, can enjoy it throughout the school year. This event is a lot of fun. I’m excited Mr. Pavelich invited me to come back. I love doing this kind of stuff,” he said.
Principal Kirk Pavelich said he hopes the fun and enjoyment of the night continues on for families.
“We want to encourage parents to read to their children, for children to say, ‘I really liked it when the fireman read me a story, will you read me a story?’ he said. “We want the importance of tonight to carry over into the home.”