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Michigan Schools Trade Halloween for Literacy Program

Little ones in Whitehall, Mich., will be trading traditional Halloween activities for a literacy program called Trick-or-TReading come Oct. 29, a double-pronged attempt to do away with sugary distractions and boost academics.

Students are invited to come to the after-school event dressed up to listen to costume-clad teachers read Halloween stories at both Ealy and Shoreline elementary schools, said Mellissa Endsley Beda, who is organizing the event and teaches 3rd grade at Ealy Elementary. They'll also have an opportunity to trick-or-treat for school-related items like pencils, erasers, bookmarks, and stickers.

Parents won't be left out: They'll be soliciting "tricks" for reading to their children at home, Beda said.

"Trick or TReading is a night to welcome families into our schools together," Beda said. "It is also a chance to share with parents some tips and tricks to engage their child in reading at home."

Many children are overwhelmed by in-school celebrations, Beda added. Such celebrations are especially tough for those with special needs.

They're not always a picnic for families or staff, either, Beda said.

"As both a parent and a teacher in our district," she said, "I am thrilled to keep candy, costumes, and chaos out of the classroom and keep the focus on community, celebration and academics."

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