It was a rainbow of color at Beechwood Elementary School March 26 as students explored their individuality during the school's ninth annual Literacy Night.

It was a rainbow of color at Beechwood Elementary School March 26 as students explored their individuality during the school's ninth annual Literacy Night.

Children and family members celebrated reading during the event via poems, stories and songs. Moms, dads and extended family pored over projects and activities throughout the school with their youngsters. They read together, sang together and created together -- all in the name of literacy.

It was the second Literacy Night for Sharese Redman, whose first-grade daughter, Jordan, was featured in the night's opening act. Redman said she loves these types of events.

"No. 1, it's my kids' school, and it's important to be involved in whatever they are doing," she said. "I want them to feel important, and I want them to know that reading is important."

Jordan started out the night singing with her fellow first-graders in a performance that concluded with the Muppets' classic The Rainbow Connection.

Then, in her own first-grade classroom, Jordan read Shel Silverstein's poem The Rainbow Thrower, then made her own family cloud, complete with rainbow streamers.

Later, she moved on to another room where she read The Rainbow Book by Kate Ohrt, which explores colors and the emotions they express. Jordan traced her hand and decorated it with the things that are important to her, penciling in each finger a different color of the rainbow. After cutting it out, she took it to a giant rainbow in the hallway representing the many nationalities and cultures that make Beechwood Elementary School unique.

"I think the singing and the talking were my favorite," she said, remembering her performance onstage in the cafeteria. In fact, music is the highlight of her school day, she said.

As children read and sang with family members, Clifford the Big Red Dog roamed the hallways and classrooms, giving hugs and posing for pictures while encouraging students to read every night.

Heather Erhardt, who attended with her 7-year-old daughter, Hanna, said being involved is important.

"Hanna likes to come to these nights, and it keeps her excited about school," Erhardt said. "She loves coming to school."

Hanna was hard at work tracing and coloring her hand as Mom looked on. Music and art are her favorite parts of the school day, so coming to school after hours to take part in the Literacy Night activities was just fine in her book, her mom said.

Students and families also crowded into the library where parent volunteers were holding a book fair. Titles on hand appealed to students of all ages, with a selection for siblings and adults as well.

The evening was supplemented with activities all week meant to encourage reading. Everything from Mixed-Up Clothes Day to Colorful Shirt Day melded with the rainbow theme.