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Clear Spring students wrapped up in reading

December 11, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - Excitement was running high almost from the start when "Unwrap Your Imagination" was launched at Clear Spring Elementary School.

It started very mysteriously Dec. 3 when a wrapped gift containing a book suddenly appeared in every student area at the school.

"I gave the kids the first hint that day," Principal Amy Norris said. The hint was that the book was related to a craft involving patterns.

Follow-up hints alluded to the season of giving, that it had colorful illustrations by Gail de Marcken, and finally that the characters are a king and a quiltmaker.

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"There has been lots of e-mailing," Norris said. "Even the teachers are curious."

The secret was revealed Dec. 10 when the presents were unwrapped at the same time. The book is "The Quiltmaker's Gift" by Jeff Brumbeau.

From now until Christmas break, teachers in all classes will be reading the book, and leading exercises and activities related to the book ? from reading to math, Norris said.

Kris Stotler, Clear Spring Elementary head custodian, wrapped all 31 of the gifts. Two additional books were purchased as gifts for those who guessed the book correctly.

Norris said the original idea came from Meredith Phares, speech and language pathologist, who serves Clear Spring Elementary, Clear Spring Middle and Conococheague Elementary schools.

"I wanted a book that would appeal to all ages and diversities," said Norris, who spent a lot of time at a local bookstore looking for just the right book.

The money for the books came out of Norris' enrichment budget, she said.

There is a king in the book who wants the quiltmakers to make him a quilt. But he can't get a quilt until he gives away everything else he owns.

It's a picture book with about 30 pages, many of which contain beautiful illustrations, Norris said.

Before the book title was revealed, three fifth-graders said they were really enjoying the mystery.

"I've never done anything like this before," said Riley Lazich, 11.

Hannah Miss, 10, entered her guess several times, convinced she had figured it out. Her guess turned out to be wrong.

"I'm a reader. I like reading as much as I can," said Megan Bishop, 10.

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