Glacier Ridge Elementary School got to meet a few two-, three- and four-legged visitors last week as the kickoff of "Celebrate Reading: Ohio Style."

Glacier Ridge Elementary School got to meet a few two-, three- and four-legged visitors last week as the kickoff of "Celebrate Reading: Ohio Style."

Chagrin Falls children's author Sandra Philipson visited Glacier Ridge last Friday, giving students a lesson in reading and writing.

Philipson has written six books and was accompanied by her inspiration -- her three dogs: Trini, Tak and Oliver.

Philipson's first books were based on Annie, a dog that lost a leg to cancer, and Annie's brother, Max. But after they died, Tak, Oliver and three-legged Trini became the stars.

Throughout the day last Friday, students got to see the dogs, learn about writing and ask the author questions.

The introduction of the canines brought a chorus of "awes" from the audience, which is why Glacier Ridge librarian Cathy Witchey said she brought Philipson to the school.

Witchey said that when she met Philipson and Tak at a library convention, she knew the involvement of the dogs would help students concentrate on Philipson's presentation.

"I met her there and she brought Tak with her," Witchey said. "I fell in love with Tak and I just thought, 'What a great way to teach kids about reading and writing.' "

Philipson's visit also set the stage for the school's celebration of reading and Ohio authors. Westerville author and poet J. Patrick Lewis will visit the school April 8-9 as part of the celebration.

Philipson's visit also marks the start of Glacier Ridge's annual book drive for Nationwide Children's Hospital. Witchey said the author donated her book "Max's Rules" to begin the book drive.

Although Philipson's canines were in the session with the children for only a while, they remained a theme while the author taught students about writing.

Philipson began telling students about things that make her dog Oliver scared, citing the "Geico lizard" as one example. Students were then asked to name other things that could scare the dog. After brainstorming a large list, Philipson challenged the students to write a story about the list.

"Maybe you can go back to your classroom and write your own story," she said. "When you're done you can send it to me. I'd love to read them."

Philipson also led the students in writing a poem and talked about character development with the help of a box containing writing ideas.

Student volunteers pulled out a wig, a toy spider monkey, a shoe made of fruit and a toy flamingo.

"I have that in my writing box because when you're a writer you need to create character," she told students when one pulled out a sparkly brown wig.