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Colorow students celebrate books

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By Deborah Swearingen

Students in third- and fourth-grade classes at Colorow Elementary traded school clothes for pajamas last Thursday during their inaugural “Drop Everything and Read” day.

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The day was all about having fun, being cozy and cultivating a love not just for reading but for books in general. Students were encouraged to bring in stuffed animals, wear pajamas and read anything their heart desired.

“A lot of time in school, you know, we’re giving them texts to read. So letting them have a day where they can just choose and really enjoy reading is pretty cool,” said teacher Michelle Rasmussen.

“If you cultivate a love for reading now, they’re going to carry that with them the older they get,” she said.

Rasmussen can remember the excitement she felt when participating in “Drop Everything and Read” in elementary school. The national initiative began in honor of author Beverly Cleary’s birthday. Cleary first wrote of DEAR in her book, “Ramona Quimby, Age 8.” Although her birthday is April 12, teachers and parents are encouraged to host DEAR events at any time of the year.

“The goal of the program is to prompt people to make reading a regular part of their routine … whether they’re reading solo or together with their classmates, parents or friends,” the initiative’s website reads.

Anastasia Taller, 8, and Ellie Long, 9, snuggled under a blanket in Rasmussen’s classroom reading nook, taking full advantage of the invitation for coziness.

Everyone enjoys reading for various reasons. For Anastasia, it’s all about “the adventure people have in the books.” For Brayden Andreas, 9, reading is fun because of “the words and the texture and the details — what makes it a good story.”

Tori Orton, 8, likes to read but said it “depends on what book it is.” Thus, she was understandably excited for a day spent reading books of her choice.

However, despite these differences, there are two things most of Rasmussen’s students agreed on. Firstly, reading is a lot of fun; and secondly, there is one series that stands above the rest. And that is the “Dog Man” series by Dav Pilkey. The series, written by the author of “Captain Underpants,” tells of a crime-fighting canine that is part man and part dog, and it was a clear favorite for Rasmussen’s class. Students rushed the shelves, hoping to grab one of the classroom copies.

“I like reading about all the silly things that Dog Man goes through,” said Kurtis Gookin, 8.

Anastasia agreed, saying “Dog Man” is her favorite. The book tells of an evil scientist who puts a dog’s head on a policeman’s body.

“That’s how he became DOG MAN,” Anastasia and Ellie said at the same time.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.