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Tweetsie Event Goes Full Steam Ahead

Published on Wed 9 Apr 2008

North Carolina's Tweetsie Railroad is best known for amusements, locomotives and cowboys but this summer the park takes on a very different theme.

Pioneering Burke County teacher, Kathy Oliver, has got together with the Wild West theme park, local businesses and schools to create a phonics fun-day for hundreds of local kids in Grades 2 to 5.

The 2008 event will be even bigger than the inaugural Letterland Day in 2007 which featured characters and reading activities from the Letterland books. Kids rode on Talking Tess’s Train and in Golden Girl’s Go-carts. They had fun playing with Peter Puppy and were welcomed to the park by Quarrelsome Queen who of course, refused to go anywhere without her umbrella!

High school kids got involved too. Local drama students became Letterland characters. They worked alongside Tweetsie’s performance professionals to act out some of the great phonic stories that feature in the books.

Kathy is so committed to phonics teaching she’s often called ‘The Letterland Lady’. She said:

‘We intend to spark magic within every child and have all students reading on grade level or beyond by the end of second grade. A trip to a real Letterland will help us realize that ambition.'

Tweetsie and Kathy have made a five-year commitment to the Letterland/Tweetsie collaboration and they expect a further 550 children to take part in 2008. Financial contributions from local businesses, successful fund-raising activities and the support of 50 teachers in Burke County, North Carolina, will ensure that this year’s celebration is a reading lesson to write home about!

For more information please contact Cathy Robbins at Tweetsie Railroad.

Read the Mountain Times' report on the 2008 Tweetsie event here (external site): http://mountaintimes.com/mtweekly/2008/0522/letterland.php3

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