'Snuggle Up and Read' draws crowd to Quil Ceda Feb. 5

From left, Marysville Cooperative Education Program teacher Shawn Jenkins reads with her daughter Dominique at the annual
From left, Marysville Cooperative Education Program teacher Shawn Jenkins reads with her daughter Dominique at the annual 'Snuggle Up and Read' night that she started more than a decade ago.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

TULALIP — Quil Ceda Elementary had a packed house the evening of Feb. 5, as entire families arrived in pajamas, and brought both books and blankets with them, for the school's annual "Snuggle Up and Read" night.

Members of the Quil Ceda Elementary PTSA and AmeriCorps greeted adults and children with cookies, hot chocolate and free books, before showing them where they could spread out their blankets. By half an hour into the event, though, the available floor space was already almost completely covered by blankets, some of them occupied by half a dozen kids and grown-ups each.

The next couple of hours were punctuated by door prize drawings and group readings conducted by guest storytellers from the Marysville Public Library and School District, but the main entertainment was supplied by the families themselves, as they huddled together to enjoy their books, as well as the company around them.

"The kids are having a lot of fun, which is always a good thing," said mom Rachel Falkner, who heard about the event because her children are students at the school. "I honestly don't know what I was expecting, but I thought it might be a bit quieter," she laughed.

The night did have a designated "quiet time," but Falkner's children, including 10-year-old Odessa and nine-year-old twins Abigail and Nehemiah, found time to socialize with friends as well. Still, all three children were equally engrossed by their reading, with books about Pokemon and Narnia rating highly among the kids. Even their mom brought along a Narnia book for herself.

As first-grade teacher Kathryn Oswood sat in as a guest storyteller, Shawn Jenkins was able to take part in the event that she had made possible. Jenkins, a teacher at the Marysville Cooperative Education Program, started "Snuggle Up and Read" at Tulalip Elementary more than a decade ago.

"It's grown significantly every single year," said Jenkins, as she read with her daughter Dominique. "It's a way to celebrate reading in a family atmosphere, where the home and school families are mixed together. Anything we can do to show children that their parents value reading is positive, especially when it gives parents and children the time to read together. Every new book that a child opens will open them up to new adventures."

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