By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Students from Washington Elementary were treated to guest readers on Tuesday in celebration of Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) day, which pays homage to children’s author Beverly Cleary, who wrote about the day in her book “Ramona Quimby, Age 8.”
The day is held on April 12, Cleary’s birthday, and this year students were read to for about 20 minutes. Cleary turned 100 years old on Tuesday.
DeAnn Steinwagner, a second-grade teacher at Washington, said the students enjoyed the chance to sit back and listen to guest readers.
“(They) love it. … This is our first time doing the guest readers,” Steinwagner said. “The staff just felt we wanted to show the kids that reading goes beyond Washington school and that, as adults, we still remember our favorite children’s books, and that’s sort of how the guest readers came about.”
She added that, in concert with DEAR day, each class decorated its door to capture the theme of a chosen book or book series, and students participated in Cleary-related book trivia. Office staff helped pick three winners in the door decorating contest on Tuesday.
“The kids are so excited just to see the adults coming in and sharing their favorite children’s book,” Steinwagner said.
Steinwagner’s husband, Michael Steinwagner, recruited guest readers for the day.
Among the readers were Marshfield Mayor Chris Meyer and former UW-Stevens Point head basketball coach Jack Bennett. Bennett shared some inspirational words with the students of Tara McCann’s first-grade class, summing up the message of his reading.
“(You have to) believe in yourself and not give up when things don’t go your way,” Bennett said. “I’ll keep working as hard as I can because if I give it my best, I can live with that. That’s all anybody can ask. Give it your best.”