Running, jumping and checking out a magic show replaced books, pencils and lesson plans last week for 300 Charleston Elementary School students.
About three-fourths of the school’s student body was rewarded with an end-of-the-year field trip May 23. The school’s parent club challenges the students to read 100 books outside of class each school year. For those who achieve that feat, a day of play awaits.
“We try to make them see that literacy is important, and we want to show them hard work pays off,” said Allison Hurd, Charleston Elementary Parent Club president.
In past years, the field trip has included a trip to the water park in Fresno or recreational areas in Modesto. Last week, the children were taken to Oliveira Park on Cardoza Road.
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“This year we wanted to keep it in the local area and avoid the long bus ride,” Hurd said.
Echoed Principal Lou Ruiz, “The kids just want to play, they don’t need anything fancy.”
Supervised by scores of Parent Club volunteers, the children played on the slides and swings and in bounce houses. Some took advantage of face painting or watching Kenny B. the magician. Lunch was provided by the Parent Club.
Ruiz said students divided their book reading by trimester. He said the children read 33 books for two trimesters and 34 books during the third. Each book had to be accompanied by a parent’s signature as a safeguard against cheating.
Ruiz said many of the children who weren’t allowed on the field trip read a substantial number of books but fell short of 100 or were unable to get the proper signatures to school staff in time.
Hurd said the event cost about $4,500 this year but has averaged about $9,000 when out-of-torn travel was factored in.
Ruiz gives parents credit.
“I’ve always said without our parents Charleston wouldn’t be Charleston,” he said.