Bowling for books

Students play games, have fun at South Routt Elementary's annual Literacy Carnival

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— Konnor Harves, 8, got all bent out of shape to win free books Thursday night.

A third-grader at South Routt Elementary School in Yampa, Konnor stretched, leaned and contorted his body while playing Twister with three of his classmates. As part of the school's annual Literacy Carnival -- a community-supported event that lets children play word and math games to win new books donated by community members and local businesses -- the Twister game hosted by John McCollum of Vectra Bank Mortgage had children reaching for circles marked not only with colors but also with words.

As Konnor and fellow third-graders Brianna Lindstrom, Hayley Johnson and Cory Anderson tumbled over one another to land on colorful nouns such as "ogre," children lined up at the 20 other booths filling the school's gymnasium to earn punches in their wristbands. Each punch was good for one of the many free books that filled the tables in the school's cafeteria.

"The kids love it -- it's like Christmas," said Tracy Viele, the school's librarian. Viele coordinated the fourth annual event with school secretary Cheryl Sullivan and paraprofessional Tillie Price.

Viele got into the spirit of the carnival by dressing as Geronimo Stilton, an adventurous mouse who travels the world with his prankish cousin and thrill-seeking sister. The series of books are very popular with students, despite -- or perhaps because of -- all the "cheesy" puns and tall "tails."

Jessica Miller, 10, said mysteries are her favorite thing to read.

"I do like funny books, but I really like mysteries because I always stop for the day at a good spot," said Jessica, a fourth-grader, as she browsed the book selection.

Marley Hammer, 10, said her favorite books are about animals.

"I like how they are more affectionate than people books," she said.

Marley knows a thing or two about animals. The South Routt fourth-grader lives on a ranch and said she has numerous pets, including a dog, three cats, three horses, five steers and a rabbit.

For Calvin Reeves, 4, earning the books was as much fun as picking them out. Calvin took several tries at a bowling event hosted by gym teacher Artie Weber. A kindergartener, Calvin had a little trouble subtracting the number of pins he knocked down from the 10 pins he started with, but that didn't stop him from getting his share of prizes from Weber, who handed out erasers, rulers and stickers to young bowlers.

Calvin's mother, school paraprofessional Kim Reeves, praised the collaborative South Routt effort that made the carnival possible.

"It's definitely huge support -- it couldn't happen if it wasn't for our community," Reeves said as Calvin tugged on her leg, ready for the next game.

-- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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