Local school children enjoy ‘Storytelling in the Park’

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Volunteer Katie Swan is dressed in full princess regalia as she reads “Tuesdays at the Castle” by Jessica Day George to this group of 4th grade Pawhuska Elementary students. Students were from Mrs. Burnett and Mrs. Elsberry’s classes. Swan was one of ten volunteers for last Thursday’s Storytelling in the Park, now in its 24th year. From left to right (back row) are Kaylee, Karlie, Linaye, Katie Swan, Dalton, Wyatt and Landon. Front row left to right are Catherine, Brandon and Bethani.

This past Thursday, 120 Pawhuska elementary students got to spend a day at Williams Park hearing volunteers read from Sequoyah award-winning books.

“The Sequoyah Award is the Oklahoma book award given each year for the top ten books selected by a vote of students in grades 3-5,” says Pawhuska Elementary Media Director Linda Snyder. “In order to vote, students must read a minimum of three of 15-16 pre-selected books. There is also a local challenge for students to pass Scholastic Reading Counts quizzes on the nominated books. Students who reach a goal for their grade by a date set in the spring get to come to a special party at the end of the year. If the Oklahoma Library Association conference happens to be in Tulsa, they will be invited to hear a winning author speak. Students look forward to this annual event. Storytelling in the park is probably my favorite event of the year.”

Volunteer readers for this year were Katie and Brent Swan, Berniece Irby, Jannine Edgar, Barbara Strahm, Sammie Frost, Libby Strahan, Marilyn Maher, Debbie Long, and Debbie Reed. Readers bring the books to life with their lively storytelling skills, frequently including props or wearing costumes. After the event, students are eager to check out these books and get started on the challenges.

Storytelling in the Park was created over two decades ago by then Elementary Media Director Betty Russell. The first event took place in September of 1989.

Joining Russell as story tellers were Bobbie Tolson, Mike McCartney, Debbie Reed, Pastor Bob Langston, Frank Reeves, Mary McCartney, Clara Swan Smith, Nancy Woodyard, and teenager Trish Wilson.

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