Few after-school events could match the excitement displayed recently at Sterling Elementary’s “Bingo for Books” event.

The fast-paced bingo games kept the energy high in the school’s cafeteria, where nearly 150 students, parents, siblings and school staff crowded around the tables and enjoyed hot dogs while keeping a close eye on their bingo cards.

Every time a winner stood up, loudly vocalizing their success by calling out “Bingo,” he or she would get to choose from piles of books stacked on several tables in the center of the cafeteria.

The event not only promoted family engagement at the school, but also literacy education at home, said Amanda Ramsey, parent involvement coordinator at Sterling Elementary.

“‘Bingo for Books’ is used to promote literacy within the family,” Ramsey said. “And by getting everyone to play and choose a book, it’s a family affair. And the kids get super excited to take their books home and read them with their parents.”

The “Bingo for Books” night at Sterling Elementary annually brings in a large crowd. At the end of the night, the students who did not win a bingo game got to also choose books to take home.

“This is our super popular event. This brings out the most families,” Ramsey said. “… Everybody likes to play bingo.”

The school’s PTA also helped sponsor the event by providing Amazon gift cards that were given away through raffle drawings throughout the night.

Many of the school’s staff, including teachers, administrators and culinary team members, stayed late to help run the event.

The culinary staff also cooked more than 200 hot dogs to be served to families.

“This is always something that we get the whole staff involved in, because we know it’s going to be such a good turnout,” Ramsey said.

Parents had the chance to also meet other teachers and staff at the school and to become more familiar with the place their children spend time every day, Ramsey said.

“It’s hard enough to be a parent, and bringing them into the school and seeing what the kids get to see everyday is so important,” she said. “And it’s important for the kids to know that their parents care about what goes on at school.”

Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at lmcdonald@thebrunswicknews.com or at 265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.

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