Zach Gapinski, 10, of Swanville didn’t always laugh at the same places as his brother, Isaac, 8, when they read the book “8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel +1 Dog= Chaos.” by Vivian Vande Velde.
But that was OK. They both shared the same favorite character — the dog no one really knew who he belonged to, but who certainly could make a mess.
“The dog usually knocks over a lot of stuff,” Isaac said.
The Gapinski brothers along with parents Angie and Aaron were reading the book as part of the “All School Book Club.”
Third grade teacher Stacy Herold-Funk said she and first and fourth grade teacher, Carly Andres started the book club, March 2.
Funk said 49 of 118 families with a total of 95 students in grades K-6 participated in the reading project. It was the second year it was held and this year, more families participated.
Funk said the project was held as part of continuing hers and Andres’ education. They needed to come up with a project in order to renew their teaching licenses, Funk said.
Funk said the families were grouped together in the classroom and given different activities, such as comprehension.
“Then every week we had them read a couple of chapters at a time at home,” Funk said.
Bookmarks were given out to write down what each chapter was about. Then the bookmarks were placed in a raffle where each student had a chance to win.
The Gapinski brothers mom, Angie, said she really enjoyed reading the book, because it gave her and her husband, Aaron, and their sons, a designated time to do something together.
“We usually read books separately, so it was nice that we could do it together,” she said.
Angie said the family made a point of turning off all electronics, including their cell phones, to honor the set aside reading time.
“It brought the family closer,” she said.
Lexi Hanson, 11, read the book with her brother Trevor, 9, and her parents, Kyle and Cassie.
“I’m an animal person, so I really liked all the animals that were in the book,” Lexi said.
Like the Gapinski brothers and many other students, Lexi’s favorite animal was “Mr. Cuddles” — the dog.
“I really liked it when he chased a squirrel into the school. He always ran into a bunch of stuff. The book made me laugh a lot,” she said.
Lexi said she grew a fondness for the turtle in the book, as well.
“She was so lazy under the heat lamp. It was funny when she tried to run through the hallway with all the other animals,” Lexi said.
Trevor said his favorite animal in the book was the squirrel.
“He had a lot of stuff and talked about everything he had in his house. It was funny,” Trevor said.
Cassie cherished the time reading together. She said it brought her, Kyle and the children closer together.
“It was a good, cute and funny book. I loved all the different animal roles of them. It was great to have that family time together,” Cassie said.
To end the reading project and to celebrate its success, participating families were invited to watch the movie “Adventures of Milo and Otis,” March 31, in the school’s auditorium.
“I think it was a great opportunity to get families together and to promote literacy. I think it got them excited about reading, because it was a good book and the children and the adults got a good laugh out of it. It has humor that even adults enjoy,” Funk said.