Mrs. Claus brings literacy, fun to children's museum

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Mrs. Claus, Julie Engelhardt, had a good reason for going to the children's museum Wednesday to read stories - literacy.

The Hollister, Calif., mother started a program in July 2010 in Hollister, "Story Time Adventures," as a literacy outreach.

"I work as a substitute teacher, and I go into so many classrooms where I see kids struggling with reading, and I just wanted to show them that it doesn't have to be hard - it's really great fun," Engelhardt said.

When she and her family were planning their trip to Minden for Thanksgiving, she decided to contact the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada to see if she could bring her program to the children of Carson City.

"I've read for schools, Girl Scouts and lots of other groups, but I wanted to have the opportunity to try it in a children's museum, and it's been great fun. I have a lot of fall and Thanksgiving and Christmas stories," she said.

One of the first groups of youngsters for which she read was made up of high school students.

Engelhardt's mother-in-law, Irene Engelhardt, was enthusiastic about the older group.

"There were 10-12 of them, and they were all sitting there with their hands folded and just listening. They even liked the pop-ups," she said.

Julie Engelhardt's 9-year-old son, dressed in a green elf hat and carrying a tall candy cane walking stick, was also there to assist his mother.

"I've been helping her pick out books to read," he said.

Other children were there to write letters to Santa for Mrs. Claus to deliver.

Nine-year-old Andrew Marcario said he listened to some of the stories and then wrote a letter asking Santa for a fish tank.

Kayla Mosby, 10, said her letter to Santa asked for new clothes and for a toy flying shark, fish and dog.

"I just wanted to come here to have fun and hang out with my brothers," she said.


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