Hudson -- Students at Ellsworth Hill Elementary School recently took off on a series of adventures. The students met a howling wolf, a bird named Blue and munched on pretzels in a New York City park.
However, the students never left the building.
The characters and scenery visited the students and school as part of the Parent Teacher Organization-sponsored Right-to-Read Week March 11-15.
"Though we celebrate our love of reading every day and this year Ellsworth Hill has enjoyed monthly literacy themed activities, Right-to-Read is one of our biggest events of the year," Lisa Hunt, principal at Ellsworth Hill said. "It is a week filled with activities related to reading and writing."
Each year, the PTO provides funding for an author to visit and read from their works, Hunt said. This year the PTO chose Lindsay Ward of Peninsula, who read from her book, "When Blue Met Egg."
"The students were all exposed to my books before the event, and the teachers set up activities and projects with them to learn more about my book," Ward said. "Because of this, the students were excited to read 'Blue' with me and had very insightful questions about the process of make a picture book."
The PTO and district both work "hard to find authors that best suit the needs of each school as well as finding authors and illustrators that merge well into the curriculum of each school," Hunt said.
"This year, Ellsworth Hill's theme was Rockin' and Readin' Big City Style because one of Lindsay Ward's books is set in New York City," Hunt said. "The PTO and the Ellsworth Hill staff transformed the building into a cityscape for the week with high rises, including the Empire State Building, park benches and lampposts."
Each day the students enjoyed different activities related to reading or writing and were always on the lookout for "Blue" the bird from "When Blue Met Egg" who made a daily appearance, Hunt said.
"She was even live and in person on [March 14] when Lindsay Ward came to Ellsworth Hill," said Hunt, who played the part of Blue.
The week began with the literacy fair where students listened to stories read by Linda Leventhal, a middle school teacher and Marie Sabol, the middle and high school media coordinator. The students also participated in games and raffles for prizes and helped the annual cake auction raise $1,310 for the House of Hope orphanage in Ghana, West Africa.
"We chose to raise funds for the orphanage due to our African unit of study," Hunt said. "The week culminated with pretzels in the park when the PTO once again transformed the cafeteria into a picnic area and handed out hot pretzels to the students on [March 15] to end a fun-filled week."
During the week, students brought in books to share and clothes bearing clues for other students to look for Blue.
"I loved watching the excitement and passion they demonstrated all week," Hunt said. "I also enjoyed their connection to the author/illustrator. Writing a huge focus in our curriculum and we constantly strive to have the students write with voice."
Other readers included: Mike Burchard, school resource officer; Steve Farnsworth, superintendent; Phil Herman, assistant superintendent; Doreen Osmun, director of curriculum and instruction and Sheryl Sheatzley, district communications manager.
"Mr. Herman's wolf sound effects could be heard round the school," Hunt said. "What a powerful reader... talk about reading with expression."
And while Ellsworth Hill's Right-to-Read Week was March 11-15, other schools celebrate on different dates, according to Jennifer Fisher, PTO president. East Woods Elementary School celebrated March 4-8, McDowell's is March 18-22 and Evamere's is April 22-26.
Michael Buckley, the author of "NERDS" visited East Woods, according to Kris Stoehr, of the Right-to-Read Week committee.
"Michael Buckley was a huge hit," Stoehr said. "His humor and wit was very appropriate for fourth and fifth graders."
Ward will also be the visiting author for McDowell and Evamere Elementary Schools reading weeks.
"The PTO has helped sponsor and coordinate Right-to-Read Week at the Hudson elementary schools for many years," according to Fisher. "As a fundraising organization, one of our goals it to pay for an author or several authors to visit the schools and help educate and enlighten the children about the writing experience."
Sue Swain is a member of the PTO Right-to-Read Week committee.
"The children and teachers at Ellsworth Hill eagerly anticipated meeting our visiting author," Swain said. "Preparation began several weeks before as the teachers read Ward's books to their students and focused on Blue, the bird at the center of her story, 'When Blue Met Egg.'"
Ellsworth Hill students will follow-up the reading week with an April theme and activities for "Reading Makes the World Go Round," Hunt said. The students will continue to study Africa and other parts of the world.
"There will be an emphasis on our leadership program this month as well to go along with the global theme -- local leaders become global leaders," Hunt said. "We always have fun while learning at Ellsworth Hill but this week took the cake -- no pun intended."