Mystery machine: Families celebrate reading in Scooby-style event

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Bronson Curtis, right, dressed as Scooby Doo in a reading night Sept. 14 at Greenfield Intermediate School.

GREENFIELD – It was a night of mayhem and mystery as dozens of families and teachers gathered to celebrate reading and word puzzles.

Greenfield Intermediate School’s Family Literacy Night Sept. 14 was mystery-themed, complete with teachers dressed up as Scooby Doo characters.

“Can You Crack the Case?” had families going through more than a dozen stations throughout the school, adorned with crime scene tape. Parents worked with their children to play word puzzles, read together and learn about resources in the community to improve literacy.

“It’s rewarding to me to see the kids were excited about solving a mystery,” said Susan Hillman, dressed as Daphne from “Scooby Doo.”

Families created poetry with old pages of books, played with mystery Mad Libs, read mystery books by flashlight and listened to stories read out loud by GIS teachers. They were also able to connect with community resources, such as the Hancock County Public Library, Bentley’s Buddies and Friends, and the Greenfield Central Foundation. Maxwell Intermediate School hosted a similar mystery event last week.

Hillman, an instructional coach at GIS, said family nights at the school are a good way to bring the community together. Last fall the theme was “Camp Read-a-lot” and in the spring was a STEM night featuring science, technology, engineering and math projects.

Principal Bronson Curtis – dressed as Scooby Doo – said GIS has a family feel anyway, as many of the teachers themselves have children that go to the school and they’re happy to bring the community event to their students, even if it means putting in extra hours. The teachers are both creative and dedicated.

“Since day one I’ve seen the strength of GIS teachers – they’re awesome,” he said.

Sixth-grader Landon Leswing attended with his parents, Phil Leswing and Kelly Swan-Leswing. Just after uncovering words in a Boggle-style game, the family said they appreciated the event.

“You can have fun with it but also learn at the same time,” Phil said.

The parents happen to also be high school teachers, and they appreciated the creativity of each room and the extra mile the teachers went to welcome families.

“This is a lot of time they put into it, so we can appreciate it,” Kelly said.

Sixth-grade reading teacher Sarah Rogers greeted families with a smile through her penciled mustache and Sherlock Holmes-style hat. She enjoys not only seeing her current students and their families, but older siblings she had as students previously and meeting younger siblings for the first time.

“I love it because it’s a different environment and it’s nice to see them in a less-structured environment because you can be silly and do fun things and laugh,” Rogers said.